Never before have I felt such a spring of joy and anticipation for the weeks ahead. Many years of my life have been spent yearning to embrace the future, yet wary that for every joy there will be tears. I came from an upbringing where the past was everything, the present a torture, the future muddied with doubt, fear and emptiness. In the life I once led, hope struggled to live; it rarely bloomed.

But not in recent years, not in recent days. I welcome each new day, as it rises from its ebony slumber and comes into its new majesty through a burst of tangerines, golds and blues. I welcome its promise and the hope it gifts me with.


I revel in love and being loved, hold close to my heart my family, the sacredness of matrimony and motherhood. Every one of it a treasure not to be squandered or gambled away.


Yet, my abode is not in the clouds of spiritual naïveté. I know the Storm is here and will come. I watch the skies more than I ever did, heeding the caution I have sensed that the first warnings will come in the world above me.


And lest, in this state of internal alertness, I return to the worry and fear that were the hallmarks of my past, I must remember that resilience in faith and gratitude for simple joys are the real jewels of life, no matter how bitterly the tempests rage.


by Jim Fish

When hard times come they sit a spell,
Like kin folk come to stay
A-packin’ troubles, pets an’ kids
That always get ‘n your way.
It’s drought an’ flood, an’ flood an’ drought,
There ain’t much in-between.
You work like hell to make ’em good,
But still they’re sorta lean.

The ranch went under late last year,
The drought got mighty tough.
The boss held-out a long, long time,
But finally said, “enough!”
So here I am dispatchin’ cops
An’ watchin’ felons sleep,
In Junction, at the county jail,
A job I’ll prob’ly keep.

The wife, she works at Leisure Lodge,
Where older people stay,
A-makin’ beds an’ moppin’ floors
To earn some ‘extra’ pay.
Though “extra pay‘s” the term I used,
It goes to payin’ rent,
An’ after all the bills are paid,
We wonder where it went.

We hocked my saddle, guns an’ chaps,
An’ then our weddin’ rings;
Then when we couldn’t pay the loan,
They sold the ‘dad-blamed’ things.
We felt real bad a day or two
But then we let it go,
Cause it got Christmas for the kids
When money got real slow.

When hard times come they sit a spell,
Don’t matter who you are;
They’ll cost ya things you’ve set aside,
An’ clean your cookie jar.
You’ll loose some sleep an’ worry some,
Won’t pay to moan an’ groan;
But hang on to your happiness,
They’ll finally leave ya ‘lone.


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