I am watching two small wrens out of my window. They are cavorting among the barren limbs of the lilac tree, happy for the sunshine. I stretch my mind, trying to reach past what I am seeing. The news of the inauguration is droning from the kitchen radio and I walk to it and purposefully turn it off. In the near silence, I strain my hearing toward what is just out of range. It is morning and my home is warming from the heaters I turned up when I awoke. I now go and turn them down, not wanting to lose the chill, wanting the stimulation of what winter is supposed to be.
I am encouraged by an old devotional, a relic, a forgotten memory, a book given to me by my mother more than forty years ago. On the first page I read, “We speak of the call of the sea, the call of the mountains, the call of the great ice barriers. These calls are heard by a few only because the call is the expression of the nature from which the call comes, and can only be heard by those who are attuned to that nature.”
For reasons I can’t explain, I think of my grandfather. I never got to meet him and my father seldom spoke of him. He hated him, and never even told me his name. But a picture survived of him in his teens; he was an acrobat and a contortionist in the circus. I remember the picture. In it he is balanced on another man’s feet and his back is bent over, pretzel-like, and his feet are on his head.
And the memory of it connects me to what is happening. People are being twisted into strained and uncomfortable shapes by all that is going on around them. What they are hearing, and what they are seeing is pulling them into uncomfortable positions from which they can only cry out. Say it! Any of a dozen buzz words and you will hear their agonies as they echo the world around them. And I am contorted with them.
After jotting these words, I return to my book and on the next page I read, “There is a good deal of instruction to be got by watching the faces of people in certain surroundings – by the sea shore, in an art gallery, during music; you can tell at once if they are listening to the call of the thing or simply reflecting themselves.”
My grandfather graduated from contortionist to trapeze artist. He learned to fly, and I am hoping that I can, too. This month I will heed Christina’s call, go to town, enjoy meals with friends and listen to music. And I won’t utter the buzz words. I will be looking into the eyes of my fellow travelers, looking for others straining to hear the call.
Excerpts from “So Send I You” by Oswald Chambers
– Larry Berger, HashtagWV #86. February 2017.
HASHTAGWV ART & ENTERTAINMENT Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Christina Entenmann-Edwards has been a WV resident since September 2008. She was born and raised in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and is no stranger to hard work and the entrepreneurial spirit. In 2006, she graduated from Quinnipiac University (Hamden, Connecticut), Cum Laude, with a B.A. in History. In 2010, she graduated with an M.B.A. from Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia). In February 2012, Christina launched HashtagWV as the area’s first full-color, free arts and entertainment tabloid + online platform. Christina completed the Leadership West Virginia class of 2021, which is an innovative program that grows, engages, and mobilizes leaders to ignite a life passion to move West Virginia forward.