ON THE CHRISTIAN CONVERSIONS OF OLAF TRYGGVASON, LEIF EIRIKSSON, AND OTHER VIKINGS: FROM VALKYRIE BATTLE-CHANTS TO ANGELIC CHORUSES

Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. (LUKE 15:10, quoting the Lord Jesus Christ)

ON  THE  CHRISTIAN  CONVERSIONS  OF  OLAF  TRYGGVASON,  LEIF EIRIKSSON,  AND  OTHER  VIKINGS:  FROM  VALKYRIE  BATTLE-CHANTS  TO  ANGELIC  CHORUSES

Col. John Eidsmoe  &  Dr. James J. S. Johnson,   co-authors

(borrowing the tune of “WHEN IRISH EYES ARE SMILING”)

ORIGINAL CHORUS:
When Viking eyes are smiling,
Ja, ‘tis like a day in spring;
In the din of Viking plunder
You can hear the valkyries sing.

Yet Viking ears kept hearing
Of life lived a better way,
And when Viking ears were listening
Some the Gospel would obey.

1st STANZA:
Vikings made many cry,
And it’s no surprise why:
They were vicious, as they were tall;
Seizing loot made them smile,
As their victims they’d rile:
Viking swords doomed many to fall.

But laughter is wrong,
When it fills pirate song:
As pillaging underlies glee.
As some lauded Thor,
They spilt others’ gore:
Such woe! – And such tragedy!

CHORUS REPEAT:
When Viking eyes are smiling,
Ja, ‘tis like a day in spring;
In the din of Viking plunder
You can hear the valkyries sing.

Yet Viking ears kept hearing
Of life lived a better way,
And when Viking ears were listening
Some the Gospel would obey.

2nd STANZA:
Olaf T. played a part,
Sharing truth from his heart:
Preaching Christ, Olaf shone a true light;
And it was, before long,
Lucky Leif joined the song:
Trusting Christ, Leif believed what was right.

Telling father, mother,
Sister, and brothers:
Soon Leif, on Vinland, had landed;
Ja, on ocean-wave foam,
Leif sailed east, for home:
Yet stopped, to save some who were stranded.

LATTER CHORUS:
Viking eyes now kindly smiled,
Good news at the Althing;
Unto God now reconciled,
Christian songs Vikings sing!

Thus Viking hearts had real joy,
Unto idols no more to pray;
For when Viking hearts are Christian,
It’s a feasting holiday!

Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. (LUKE 15:10, quoting the Lord Jesus Christ)

‘TWAS THE NIGHT AFTER WEEK 1 (AND ALL THROUGH THE SWAMP)

‘TWAS  THE  NIGHT  AFTER  WEEK  1    (AND  ALL  THROUGH  THE  SWAMP)

James J. S. Johnson, Esq.

drain-the-swamp-blackrepublicanblog-imagecredit

“Drain the Swamp !”   (image credit: Black Republican Blog)

‘Twas the night after Week 1
And all through the Swamp,
Not a leftist was purring
With power or pomp.

Liberals with hangovers
Wallowed from binging,
While fake-news reporters
From facts were a-cringing.

With Week 1 concluded
Many slept snug in their beds,
While memories of Trump’s actions
Danced in their heads.

Could all this be true?
How wrong were those polls!
WikiLeaks! Twitter!
Now Trump’s scoring goals!

With media frenzy
There arose such a clatter!
It drove the Left crazy
That, now, all lives matter.

 

(INAUGURATION FRIDAY, in the afternoon)

To halt Bummer-care burdens
Trump moved like a flash
The E.O. issued Friday(1)
Aimed at saving our cash.

Then Priebus’ Friday memo(2)
Stirred buzzing like bees,
Shutting down reg-making
By a reg-making freeze.

 

(MONDAY, January 23rd)

Trump’s memo on Monday(3)
Helped babies unborn,
Restoring a policy
That aborters have scorned.

Also on Monday
A memo was made(4) —
Trashing T.P.P.
To safeguard our trade

So new U.S. trade deals
Must be “one-to-one”,
Helping our workers
Or that deal we’ll shun.

And again, on that same Monday,
A third memo came, in due course,(5)
A hiring freeze is now imposed,
Except to add military force.

 

(TUESDAY, January 24th)

Trump’s E.O. Tuesday(6)
Prioritized goals:
Bridges and airports
Highways with potholes.

Our electric grids
And airport repair,
Pipeline and ports
Must get improved care.

So EPA delays
Should not force us behind;
Go, expedite projects!
Make the process streamlined!

With Tuesday’s actions
So lively and quick,
I knew in a moment
Swamp rats felt a kick!

One memo on Tuesday(7)
Favors business at home,
Streamlining permits
So factories won’t roam.

Our job loss crisis
We must now address;
Factory permitting
We must now assess.

That memo on Tuesday
Aims at this whole mess,
To streamline permits
So regs can cost less.

The goal of Trump’s memo
Is easy to guess:
To promote more goods
“Made in the U.S.”

Also on Tuesday
Came more memos, three(8)  —
On pipeline constructions
To get more energy.

More rapid than eagles
Trump’s memos, they came;
Yet not just talk, action!
(Not like excuses lame.)

“Now, Keystone!” “Now, Dakota!”
“Now, U.S.-produced steel!”
“Expedite a re-app!”
“Rein in those regs! Heel!”

Ninety percent done –
NAPL must be loosed;
While pipelines at home
Use steel there produced.

 

(WEDNESDAY, January 25th)

E.O.s on Wednesday
Made U.S. foes chafe;
Both of those E.O.s
Aimed at making us safe.

Boundaries matter
Like lines in the sand;
One E.O. on Wednesday(9)
Concerns the Rio Grande.

“Go, secure the border!”
“Go, construct the wall!”
“Shoo, drug traffickers!”
“Dash away, all!”

So human trafficking
And life-breaking drugs,
Terrorist networks
And all kinds of thugs . . . .

Must be excluded
Repelled from our nation;
Please, build the wall, now!
Without hesitation!

Some immmigrants aren’t safe
Bearing disease and infection;
With border security
Each must pass inspection.

So that E.O.’s purpose
Is just, and it’s clear:
We need a real border
To guard our nation dear.

Also on Wednesday
Another E.O. came,(10)
Clarifying the law:
This is no “P.C.” game.

Getting federal funds
May make cities merry,
But that party’s over
For each “sanctuary”.

Flaunting the laws
To rebels seems funny;
We’ll see who laughs last
When Trumps stops their money!

 

(THURSDAY, January 26th)

On Trump’s first Thursday
We learned he does care,
About learning in schools,
About how students fare.

And so, to emphasize
More choices in schools,
Trump praised market options
As our best learning tools.

So, public or private
Parents can now select,
Or home school-based learning
If families so elect.

Thus school choice Trump favors
Says Trump’s proclamation(11)  —
Let NEA compete
To its own consternation!

 

(FRIDAY, January 27th)

Trump’s first week in office
Closed with expectations;
Using Friday’s E.O.(12)
Trump secured immigrations.

Some shrink from real vetting
As killers come to serve ISIS;
So what controls are needed
To fix our refugee crisis?

Acting as refugees
In slip many fakes;
Thanks to Friday’s E.O.
Trump slammed on the brakes!

Leftists hate “extreme vetting”;
Terrorists hate it too –
But what good is gatekeeping
If anyone comes through?

 

(SATURDAY NIGHT,  LOOKING BACK ON WEEK 1)

What a week it has been:
How fast, yet how fair!
Trump’s eyes, how they twinkled!
(And, yes, that’s his real hair.)

There’s been more, of course,
Such as cabinet picks,
What of voter fraud?
There’s so much to fix!

Meetings and phone calls:
Mexico and U.K.,
Russia and Israel
So much on each day!

As the cabinet grows
And the White House staff,
The naysayers whine
(But I sit back and laugh!)

Reporters fume on
Bile and disputin’ –
Stunned by the election
Which they blame on Putin!

Yet a wink of Trump’s eye
As he turns up his thumb,
Soon gave me to know
God’s blessing has come!

But I heard Trump exclaim
As the hour grew late,
“This is just my first week
To make America great!”

 

(May God bless you, your family, and your team, President Trump!)

 

References to Executive Actions (during Week 1 of President Trump’s official term of service)

[1] EXECUTIVE ORDER “Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [‘Obamacare’] Pending Repeal” (1-20-AD2017).

[2] MEMORANDUM “for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies”, issued by Reince Priebus, Assistant to the President & Chief of Staff (1-20-AD2017).

[3] PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM “Regarding the Mexico City Policy” (1-23-AD2017).

[4] PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM “Regarding Withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Agreement” (1-23-AD2017).

[5] PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM “Regarding the Hiring Freeze” (1-23-AD2017).

[6] EXECUTIVE ORDER “Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High Priority Infrastructure Projects”  (1-24-AD2017).

[7] PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM “Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing” (1-24-AD2017).

[8] PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM “Regarding Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline” (1-24-AD2017); PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM “Regarding Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline” (1-24-AD2017); PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM “Regarding Construction of American Pipelines” (1-24-AD2017).

[9] EXECUTIVE ORDER “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements” (1-25-AD2017).

[10] EXECUTIVE ORDER “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” (1-25-AD2017).

[11] “National School Choice Week 2017 Proclamation” (1-26-AD2017).

[12] EXECUTIVE ORDER “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” (1-27-ASD2017).

Political Cartoon credit (from Black Republican Blog): http://blackrepublican.blogspot.com/2016/12/donald-trump-drain-swamp.html


 

COMMENTARY:  This poem is intended to encourage Christians to pray for our God-ordained authorities in government, including but not limited to President & Mrs. Trump, and all others who are part of the Trump team (whether seen by the public or not) who are working to “make America great again”.  See 1st Timothy 2:1-3 (“I exhort, therefore, that … supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men, for kings, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty, for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior”).  See also Romans 13:1-8, plus Nehemiah  chapters 1-6 (basis of Dr. Robert Jeffress’ pre-inauguration exhortation to the incoming President and Vice-President and their wives, 1-20-AD2017).

For an earlier poem about President Donald J. Trump (and God’s providence), in limerick format, see “God’s Providential Judgments Reveal His Will (and Sometimes His Mercy, Too)”,  posted at  https://rockdoveblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/09/gods-providential-judgments-reveal-his-will-and-sometimes-his-mercy-too/ 

><> JJSJ

James J. S. Johnson, Esq.
profjjsj@aol.com
attorney in Texas & Colorado (and several federal courts)
January 28th AD2017

ALPINE TREK ALONG THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.  (JUDE 1:24-25)

appalachiantrail-hiking-presidentialrange

Alpine  Trek   Along   the Appalachian Trail

James J. S. Johnson

 [from a New Hampshire hike in August AD1997, composed 9-17-AD1997]

  I.  DAY ONE

An epic, this is, of a venture begun

Of a hike, that was, by a father and son,

In greenest New Hampshire, to hike for three days

The Appalachian Trail, in rain or sun-rays.

Equipped for hiking, with water and snacks

Two guys prepared to tote their backpacks

Pausing by the trailhead — for goodbyes and prayer

Hearing wifely concerns — and motherly care

From near Crawford Depot; it’s too late to veto …

This is the time, the moment of truth

We’ll hike three days, as father and youth,

Through trees and tundra, — hot, warm, and chilling

And finish at Pinkham, if God be willing …

This was the plan — of the boy and the man

Time to be strong — to endure high and long;

A time to hike on — to be tough as a team,

A time to grow up — to incarnate a dream.

Upward and onward, and into the green

In instants the trailhead is no longer seen;

‘Twas now or never, hike up to the hut,

Mizpah was aimed for, no “if”, “and”, or “but”.

Crawford Path climbed up, up, – and rocks replaced dirt,

Footwork was critical, each step threatened hurt;

Other perils, latent, would also appear,

Such as the crossroads, some far, some near;

A wrong turn at this point — could spell out great loss,

Even if corrected, — ‘twould be at great cost;

Hardwoods, so plentiful, — so thick it’s half-dark,

Sun-rays, by filtering, — flicker on the tree-bark;

This world of green, through which the path’s cut,

Where will it end?  where is Mizpah Hut?

Each turn in the trail, has maples and birch,

With myriad branches for songbirds to perch;

Myriad stepping-stones, — oft broken, jagged,

Multiple resting-stops, — when feeling ragged;

Some rocks are striated, others are wrinkled,

Sky clouds are darkening, then it soon sprinkled …

Enough to wear ponchos?  Now hard it rains —

The rocky path flushes, as rain-flow it drains,

The path being steep, now washed as rains run,

A cascade-like stream, it now has become;

So up through the mud, as our legs wane weak,

The foot-path floods o’er, as it’s now a creek;

Beech, oak, and cherry, — drink in the rain,

As we two stumble and climb up again;

The trail is a run-off ditch, — step and beware!

Don’t slide, slip, or stumble, now, — climb on with care!

Despite our rain-ponchos, with which we are cloaked,

Rain-sponged our backpacks hang, as we trudge on soaked …

The rain became drizzle, and drizzle to mere drops,

Chartreuse forest glistening, as for now, the rain stops;

But then, it sprinkles, then pours down more rain,

And soon, cascading, it’s “ponchos on” again;

There’s no point in stopping, except for a rest,

So onward and upward, just give it your best —

As rainfall washes us, — it’s soaking our stuff,

We keep on, trusting God, — to make us be tough …

But, wait, here come hikers —

From where we now aim,

Let’s ask them how far —

To wherefrom they came …

 “You are just about through

About one mile or two —

And, as you go, do enjoy the view!

Be sure, as you go, to enjoy the view!”

 Though the hikers oft said “one or two” —

(And we made sure we enjoyed each view)

The miles seemed like more

I think — three or four.

At last, it’s stopped raining, — the steepness is less,

The trail’s switching back now, — it turns here, I guess!

The trail still is muddy, — step and beware!

Don’t slide, slip, or stumble, — canter with care!

The forest then opes, to a window-like clearing,

Is that our first hut, that we see (and are nearing)?

A light-hued roof, on rocks built with wood,

Mizpah Spring Hut! — how timely and good!

Smiling, — in a “milestone” mood,

Checked in, — for some rest and food;

Relief at last! — off to our bunk-room,

But then, aghast, — breathed we the funk-fume!

I climbed up to my bunk, atop layer three,

I switched on my flashlight, so that I could see;

Then pillow-placed my backpack, — tonight it must suffice,

Tomorrow ’twill be here soon, — with trees and rocks of gneiss;

Our rain-soaked clothing, below was hung

From makeshift clothesline, on hook and rung;

Some were snoring, — others shivered and coughed,

Body odors, — hovering, wafted aloft …

No cleansing breeze or ‘lectric lights,

Co-lodging as if troglodytes

(Should we sleep out — on bryophytes?

Beneath the stars — our acolytes?)

A dozen hikers, they and we —

Assigned to bunk-beds, layered three,

In our bunks — dark, damp, and dank,

We unbathed suitemates slept and stank.

mizpahspringhut-goodearl-photo

II. DAY TWO

Voices, voices, coming down the hall —

Singing, singing, as a wake-up call;

“You’re so bright, you coulda been a candle …”

(I’m climbing down, if I could find a handle …)

Time to wake up, pack all gear,

‘Twill soon be time, to leave from here;

Lace up those boots, after donning new thick socks

Foot-care is key, to challenge those gray rocks;

So, onto our breakfast, — served at crowded tables,

Then re-yoke our backpacks, — tied with bungee-cables;

How ’bout that breakfast, and coffee-like beverage?

(When did I last eat — <uh!> — something so average?)

How can backpacks gain weight o’ernight?

There’s no retreat, so scale the height —

So, are we, again, ready, — to ascend montane trails?

To stair-step bumpy boulders — which foliage-blanket veils?

Let’s stop, right here — my lungs need air,

Okay, let’s go, — on as a pair;

Onward, upward, using hands and feet, — yet always with due care,

The pathway twists and turns — a labyrinthine stair;

So, up the twisted staircase — yes, it’s hiking time,

As boreal forest’s summer — turns subalpine clime;

While red spruce branches brush us, and also balsam firs,

The forest has awakened, a squirrel looks and stirs …

Tree-limbs brush us on each side,

Each step gravity defied;

A twisted staircase, — gray weathered rocks,

Some broken, some smooth, — some chunky blocks;

Notice how the broadleafs have thinned,

Now it’s moss, conifers, and wind;

Is this now the Hudsonian zone?

The trial’s a mix of pine and stone;

A plateau opening — and what a view!

A valley vista — of emerald hue;

On this table-top of rock, we see our first rock cairn,

‘Twill be a welcome sight hereon, for me and my sole bairn…

O’er peaks and vales the sun does shine

Our second milestone:  timberline!

Let’s sit a moment, — my breathing’s fierce!

Almost we’ve made it, — to Mount Pierce …

On the winding path we two grope,

Oft scratchèd by scrub spruce;

Pressing, curving, o’er montane slope

On stepping-stones oft loose;

Oh, Lord, please guard our ankles, now,

This is no place for harm;

The piney path weaves in and out,

Throughout heath cover charm …

Through clearings leads the path, — the evergreens grow low,

Mountain-slopes the horizon spans, — pierced by a flying crow;

Crowberry and black spruce carpet, — like needly mats appear,

Snowberry and lingonberry, — like garden crops grow here …

This White Mountain panorama,

Our Creator’s art and drama —

Let’s rest awhile, — refresh our souls,

It’s breezy here, — in this krummholz ….

See those birds, sooty-hued, with furry necks like snow?

Stark black eyes, eyeing us, as if we were for show?

Canadian jays, perching so still, — watch us from firs of balsam,

I watch amazed, such alpine birds, — I must say they are awesome.

God’s own fingerwork lives here —  His Creatorship us astounds,

Throughout this ecology, —  with His artistry He surrounds;

Thank You, God, for this summer trek, — here at timberline,

(Of course, You know all this place, — even at winter-time !)

Look, the path descends — to my strained lungs’ relief,

Although, when it does, — ’twill only be so brief;

For descent now means “up” later,

In this montane “elevator”;

And up-down we go — dragging our frames,

As if we were playing — elevation games;

At four-thousand now, — one-thousand more later,

We seem stuck on “up” — in this elevator!

Don’t you feel tired, — you ready to eat?

I’m ready for snacks, — to get off my feet!

Let’s get past this curve, and rest on that boulder,

I’ll don another shirt, for I’m getting colder;

So, close to timberline, — at a bit past midday,

We stopped for lunch, — had we yet gone half-way?

Time for water and food bars, —  what else did we bring?

Time to change socks and rest some, —  and photo something …

But, wait, here come hikers —

From where we now aim,

Let’s ask them how far —

To wherefrom they came …

“You are just about through

About one mile or two —

And, as you go, do enjoy the view!

Be sure, as you go, to enjoy the view!”

Though the hikers oft said “one or two” —

(And we made sure we enjoyed each view)

The miles seemed like more

I think — three or four.

On felsenmeer, a sea of cracked stone,

We curved along the montane “backbone”;

So, on and up, — trudged on we two,

Along the path’s gravelly queue;

As beyond stretched the ridgeline footpath, markèd by each cairn,

We two trekked the alpine tundra, father and his bairn —

Sphagnum moss and dwarf shrubs, — patched in tundra-quilt,

Sedges, heaths, and lichens, — mixed with rocks rough-built;

Tracing the Presidential Ridge,

Trudging to Eisenhower’s mount;

Rocks form a meandering bridge,

More footsteps than any would count;

Find that next rock-cairn, that’s where the Crawford Path swerves,

It zigzags some crags, — then by Eisenhower it curves;

From switch-backs to ditch-cracks, — hike on!

From each rock-tier to felsenmeer, — hike on!

Throughout krummholz and stone atolls, — hike on!

Past ecotone edges and tundra sedges, — hike on!

By alpine-mead grasses and mica-rock masses — hike on!

Follow that rock-cairn, — keep hiking, my bairn!

And then, — a cairn, as if a pyramid-tower

We’re here, — atop, wind-blown on Mount Eisenhower!

Forty-seven sixty-one — is its elevation,

Swivel-view the mountainside, — what a great creation!

Trail dust and wind-gusts blow us, forward from there,

Remembering high Trail winds, we must take care;

The vertebral ridgeline winds on and on still,

This curving backbone’s like an ongoing hill …

Lo, the trail divides the grass alpine,

Bordering flagged krummholz timberline;

The trail changes, — here thin, there wide,

The rock-cairns aid, — a sure trail-guide.

Look!  That lichen-“painted” rock!

Flaked crumbly and sulphur-hued,

Parked, as if in bayside dock,

A winged one seeking its food …

Winged in pastel blues and ashen blacks

Camouflaged almost, by craggy cracks —

Rare wingèd one — blue, black, and spry,

It’s a White Mountain butterfly!

While hiking for leisure,

Who’d seek such treasure?

For such winged ones only live here,

In these mounts that shine like a mirror …

So-long, sporadic shrubs of spruce, (I think black spruce dwarfs)

The mica-laden rocks shine out, — mirroring sun like quartz;

Near sedges, grasses, and rushes, — a quilt of tundra covering,

Edgèd by sphagnum moss-mats, — while Oeneis flits by, hovering …

Franklin now crowns the horizon, a jut,

Who knows when we’ll reach the next hiker’s hut?!

The “topo” map shows it, — but when? — and how soon?

Perhaps we’ll arrive there, in the mid-afternoon …

But, wait, here come hikers —

From where we now aim,

Let’s ask them how far —

To wherefrom they came …

 “You are just about through

About one mile or two —

And, as you go, do enjoy the view!

Be sure, as you go, to enjoy the view!”

 Though the hikers oft said “one or two” —

(And we made sure we enjoyed each view)

The miles seemed like more

I think — three or four.

Passing alpine flora, and tundra lichen,

glancing peripherally, — keep on hikin’!

Crawford Path does curve and ramble,

We follow, onward, and amble …

The map guides us right, as we near Monroe’s peak,

‘Tis five-thousand high, so detour-cairns we seek,

There the cairns are, — convoluting down,

(Comfort it is, — when such cairns are found!)

The rock path meanders, to right and to left,

The trail cuts through mica, in boulders now cleft;

A warning sign says, “the tundra … don’t trample!”

We’re on the right track ( — how ’bout a rock sample?)

Let’s see the “topo” map, — where’s “Lakes of the Clouds”?

We’re curving ’round Monroe, — near cumulus shrouds;

Just beyond the bend, — down, where the trail’s cut,

It’s Lakes of the Clouds, — our next hiker’s hut!

In a jog-canter, — off went one revived lad!

So I called, “Hey, wait!” — (but he left behind Dad),

There the light-hued hut waited, — on Mount Washington’s slope,

It’s crude hospitality, — matched our need (and my hope) …

Air those feet out, — so, off with those shoes!

Eat food, no doubt! — then, lie down to snooze;

See th’alpine sunset, — through the glass window pane,

‘Twill soon be day three, — time to hike out again …

presidentialrange-going-uphill

III.  DAY THREE

To woodwind’s tune, we awoke in the morn,

Showerless still, wearing what we had worn;

At least the wind-gusts, blow here with clean verve,

I glanced out the door, to see our trail’s curve …

In order for us to keep up — our own vim, vigor, and verve,

We ate the hut-served breakfast (or as much as we had nerve!);

My son (and others) would discover, — hours later down the trail,

That something served as food, — deserved the garbage-pail!

We began on the path to Bigelow, not knowing ’twas off-track,

A few hundred feet higher we learned this, and so we turnèd back;

Curving east along Davis Path, — we climbed to its high mound,

Hop-scotching felsenmeer and stones, — we rested on tundra ground;

Still arcing east toward Boott Spur, we trudged by rocks and mats,

The winds blew fiercely, near freezing, and we secured our hats;

Fifty-five hundred feet high, — Boott Spur was cumulus-banded,

Blended lichen and boulders, — it was stark (to be quite candid);

Lo, the “topo” map had news — (not abstract, but “concrete”),

The trail would soon be dropping — thirty-two hundred feet!

My lungs dubbed this as good news, — but what about my legs?

Steep drops o’er this felsenmeer — could be like hikin’ eggs!

The winds were cold, so we wore ponchos,– as we climbèd down,

The footing was scarce, and quite perilous, — often not so sound;

Miles away from normal help, — a false step would be rued,

Praying for the Lord’s watch-care, — quoting a verse from Jude!

Comforting cairns and then a sign, — we’re rightly headed east,

When we get to Pinkham, D.v., — we’re going to have a feast!

But it’s still morn, with hours to go, — keep your concentration,

It’s felsenmeer, furlongs below, — watch that elevation!

There’re miles yet below us,  — I can’t see the road,

We’re above the clouds still, — I sure feel my load …

Whene’er we arrive, — I’m going to weigh this backpack,

(Assuming we live!) — it’s heavy, but I can’t back-track!

Hey, look north, — see that snow-drift o’er there?

It’s August, — but these mountains don’t care …

It’s krummholz again, see the wind-blown “flags”?

Stunted black spruce, — shrubs shielded in crags?

We’re slowly descending, one step at a time,

Were this some months later, we might be all rime!

It’s hard to imagine, how cold it is now,

In August we’re shivering, near freezing (and how!)

We rest at a large cairn, — as if some memorial,

And glancing, I notice, — alpine is now boreal;

As our elevation — drops step by step,

The biome transition — bolsters our pep …

For our slow descent — through vegetation zones,

Continues to prove — we are “conquering” stones;

We now see green pines, birches, balsam firs, and spruce,

As we focus our footwork — on rocks often loose …

Boott Spur Trail, below treeline meanders wildly,

By contrast, its tundra trail wove only mildly;

When the trail seemed to dissolve, ’twas time to pray,

We’d find a blaze-mark, or a cairn in the way …

Down went the dirt-path, steeply through the thick trees,

So, sometimes branch-holding provided us some ease;

The trail still was rocky, to the very end,

But through tree-branch-holding, each tree was a “friend” …

We were taking our breaks, for rest in the way,

Quite tired, we decided, to eat at mid-day;

We drank our dear water, eating food bars galore,

Our strength somewhat returned, though our muscles were sore …

But, wait, here come hikers —

From where we now aim,

Let’s ask them how far —

To wherefrom they came …

 “You are just about through

About one mile or two —

And, as you go, do enjoy the view!

Be sure, as you go, to enjoy the view!”

Though the hikers oft said “one or two” —

(And we made sure we enjoyed each view)

The miles seemed like more

I think — three or four.

As you (and we) guessed, as we went, in descent,

The hours passed slowly, yet we went, Pinkham-bent!

Though our legs were weary, and threatened to cramp,

There was no safe refuge, in this forest damp …

Just to excite us — (or me, at least),

A squirr’l would startle — (whew! a wee beast!)

Meanwhile, balsam fir blended with spruces,

Then they mixed with hardwoods (oh, what phûsis!)

After some rest-stops, on some felled forest timber,

We knew we must hike, ere we might cease to be limber;

Our goal — Pinkham Notch, — so stumble on we did,

Somewhere’s the trailhead, but for then it was hid …

This meandering path, — somewhere it converges,

With Tuckerman Ravine, — then soon it emerges?

What is that sound, — a water-fall, is it?

Crystal Cascade, — shouldn’t we go visit?

The path is so wide, we must be so close now, —

I’m hobbling as fast  as my legs will allow!

My feet want to rest, — my legs want to cramp,

But, no, here we are, — at Pinkham Notch Camp!

And so, God be thanked, — we checked in for the night,

And ‘phoned “we’re here, safe!” (’cause God gave us both might);

Our stuff secured (in our odorous suite), it was time for dinner!

For our God (by His great providence), made us each a winner.

krummholz.AppalachianTrail.jpg

IV.  QUEST QUESTION & GRATITUDE

I wonder, how much of this life, — is like that alpine tourney?

And, can we walk by faith with God — enjoying now the journey?

So, I thank Him — “Him that is able to keep you from falling …”

my Lord Jesus Christ, thanks for walking with us!

One day, due to Your grace, we’ll walk into Your presence with joy!

><> JJSJ

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.  (JUDE 1:24-25)

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Anne Bradstreet, a Puritan Mother (and Poet)

My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.  (Proverbs 1:8)

Anne Bradstreet, In Reference to her Children 

(23 June, AD1659) AnneBradstreet-with-her-birds.stain-window.png

I had 8 birds hatcht in one nest, 4 cocks there were, and hens the rest.

I nursed them up with pain and care, Nor cost, nor labour did I spare,

Till at the last they felt their wing, Mounted the trees, and learned to sing;

Chief of the brood then took his flight, To regions far and left me quite.

My mournful chirps I after send, Till he return, or I do end:

Leave not thy nest, thy dam and sire, Fly back and sing amidst this choir.

My second bird did take her flight, And with her mate flew out of sight;

Southward they both their course did bend, And seasons twain they there did spend,

Till after blown by southern gales, They norward steered with filled sails.

A prettier bird was no where seen, Along the beach among the treen.

I have a 3rd of colour white, On whom I placed no small delight;

Coupled with mate loving and true, Hath also bid her dam adieu;

And where Aurora first appears, She now hath perched to spend her years.

One to the academy flew, To chat among that learned crew;

Ambition moves still in his breast, That he might chant above the rest

Striving for more than to do well, That nightingales he might excel.

My 5th, whose down is yet scarce gone, Is ‘mongst the shrubs and bushes flown,

And as his wings increase in strength, On higher boughs he’ll perch at length.

My other 3 still with me nest, Until they’re grown, then as the rest,

Or here or there they’ll take their flight, As is ordained, so shall they light.

If birds could weep, then would my tears, Let others know what are my fears

Lest this my brood some harm should catch, And be surprised for want of watch,

Whilst pecking corn and void of care, They fall un’wares in fowler’s snare,

Or whilst on trees they sit and sing, Some untoward boy at them do fling,

Or whilst allured with bell and glass, The net be spread, and caught, alas.

Or lest by lime-twigs they be foiled, Or by some greedy hawks be spoiled.

O would my young, ye saw my breast, And knew what thoughts there sadly rest,

Great was my pain when I you bred, Great was my care when I you fed,

Long did I keep you soft and warm, And with my wings kept off all harm,

My cares are more and fears than ever, My throbs such now as ‘fore were never.

Alas, my birds, you wisdom want, Of perils you are ignorant;

Oft times in grass, on trees, in flight, Sore accidents on you may light.

O to your safety have an eye, So happy may you live and die.

Meanwhile my days in tunes I’ll spend, Till my weak lays with me shall end.

In shady woods I’ll sit and sing, And things that past to mind I’ll bring.

Once young and pleasant, as are you,  But former toys (no joys) adieu.

My age I will not once lament,  But sing, my time so near is spent.

And from the top bough take my flight, Into a country beyond sight,

Where old ones instantly grow young, And there with seraphims set song;

No seasons cold, nor storms they see; But spring lasts to eternity.

When each of you shall in your nest, Among your young ones take your rest,

In chirping language, oft them tell, You had a dam that loved you well,

That did what could be done for young, And nursed you up till you were strong,

And ‘fore she once would let you fly, She showed you joy and misery;

Taught what was good, and what was ill, What would save life, and what would kill.

Thus gone, amongst you I may live, And dead, yet speak, and counsel give:

Farewell, my birds, farewell adieu, I happy am, if well with you.


What can be compared to a Christian mother’s caring heart?!

COMMENTARY:   The Lord Jesus Christ once compared Himself to a mother hen, alluding to the maternal care and protectiveness that hens have for their baby chicks, when He said: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets, and stone them who are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and ye would not!”  (Matthew 23:37).