Author Archives: backfromtheborderlands

About backfromtheborderlands

These writing pieces and a few photos are from my experiences and messages I have gathered from living in the borderlands.

Lament for the Earth

I wrote this 2 years ago when smoke engulfed the Pacific Northwest from fires burning. This year the fires are worse and so is the smoke. I am one of those with underlying conditions. I am not well. It is supposed to rain and help clear the air. I think of those who have lost lives, homes, businesses in these fires this year. This on top of the Covid 19 pandemic which has taken so many lives around the world. Pray this prayer of lament with me and let us work together for change, starting with our hearts.

Backfromtheborderlands's Blog

forest fire smoke burning Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

God we ask for your mercy and help.

We have filled the waters of the earth with poison and pollution.

We have harmed people, animals, fish and plants with this water.

We have continued to fill the waters with chemicals, plastics and garbage even when we know this is harmful.

God have mercy on us and forgive us.

Help us to care for these precious waters that sustain us.

We have poisoned and polluted the land.

We have destroyed forests and fields.

Our foods are no longer rich in nutrients.

We continue to harm people, animals and plants with our poisons and pollution.

God have mercy on us and forgive us.

Help us to care for the land that sustains us.

We have poisoned and polluted the air.

We continue to burn fossil  fuels that are heating our atmosphere.

We are harming people, animals and…

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A Week on Vashon Island

After breakfast

The fog coming across the water

The ferry sounds its horn

The seals sun on the little dock

Set out for them

You could forget where you are

As the sound of waves distract you

And the surf laps against the shore

You could forget that you

Have to go home tomorrow

Back to those routines

Instead of these

And the gull cries

Calling you back to now

“Don’t worry we will be here

When you return”

And the fog keeps rolling

And blurs the seals

On their little rocking dock

I visited the Mukai Farm and Garden remembering and honoring the Japanese community that lived and farmed strawberries here before WWII. They were taken away during the war to internment camps. As I strolled the gardens there was a labyrinth with lanterns hung and intermittent Haiku streaming from pages strung with clothes pins as well. I was inspired to write these poems below.

I.

Immigrants settle

Growing fields of strawberries

Taken and interned

II.

War has many faces

Death and life roll through the land

Tears flow unending

III.

When will we return?

Children speak our unspoken words

Can hearts hope again?

IV.

Some return, rebuild

Life twists and turns with the sun

Trauma stays within

We took several hikes, this one runs along Shingle Mill Creek to Fern Cove.

They clear-cut cedar

Giants turned to roof shingles

The forest still grieves

Categories: beauty, Birds, children, grief and death, Hope, Life, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Raven

Photo by Tom Swinnen on Pexels.com

Flew to the tip of the garage

Standing there now

In front of us

Outside our window

Your message from the One who loves:

I am here

Standing guard

Leading you

In this work

In this way

Pay attention

Step by step

Look for me

You will find me

When you search

With all your heart

I am for you

I am renewing the earth

And it’s peoples

Don’t be afraid

I am with you

I see you

Even when you

Cannot see me

Look for me

Pay attention

Categories: Birds, Faith, God, Hope, Love, Poetry, Prayer | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Who is Waiting for Who

(I came to faith in the 1970’s with the Jesus People, we were sure Jesus was coming back – soon!)

I moan

I groan

I lament

Waiting for you to come

Hoping for you to intervene

To silence evil

To stop oppression

To hear the cry of the poor and needy

When will you 

Remove the evil rulers

When will you come in the clouds

Set things right 

Set up your throne

I long for that day

I long to see your face

In the silence

I hear your invitation

Your call 

To join your work

To speak for the voiceless

To speak and live truth

To feed the hungry

To listen to the oppressed

To push back

Evil, oppression, racism, greed, violence

In my prayers, in my words, in my actions

I realize

I am not the only one waiting

You are waiting for us

© 2020 Julie Clark

Categories: borderlands, Faith, God, Hope, lament, Life, Poetry, Prayer | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Even in a Pandemic

Even in a pandemic

You can be kind

You can listen

You can learn

You can watch as the sun sets

Changing the colors of the sky

The light changing in the tree tops

Beauty can still take your breath away

Even in a pandemic

You can remember

You can give thanks

You can listen to the bird song

And wonder at the many voices

You can pray

You can vote

You can change

© Julie Clark 2020

Categories: beauty, Birds, Faith, growth, Poetry, Prayer, Trees | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bird Lessons

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Robins

Everywhere

On the wet grass

On the roof tops

In the air

Plenty of worms

For all

In this rich soil

On this fertile hill

No scarcity mentality

Just take what you need

For you and your family

Leave the rest

For the other birds

Residents and guest

Passing through

No need for hoarding

Or commodifying

These tasty treats

Oh that we would

Study the birds

And the fields 

And the trees

Like our ancestors

Like Jesus

Learn a new way

An ancient way

Leading to 

The path of life

The eagles on Sunday

Circling the waters

Taking turns

Diving for the fish

Over and over

Repeating the pattern

Again and again

The message is clear

Perseverance

Don’t give up.

© 2020 Julie Clark

Categories: Birds, Faith, Hope, Life, Paths, Poetry, Trees | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Breathe

(This poem written in this intersection of time where people are dying from Covid 19 and dying from police brutality. They can’t breathe.)

Breathe deep

When we can

Because we can.

Remember where our breath comes from

Give thanks.

Remember those

Who cannot breathe.

Remember those

Whose breath has been taken.

Take action

When we can

Because we can.

Categories: Faith, grief and death, lament, Poetry, Prayer | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Fruit Trees

The fruit trees

Have put on their new attire

Traded in the bare naked look

From buds to shawls of fragile blooms

Now with sturdy green working clothes

These garments will take them through the heat of summer

Their job, with branches stretching far into the sky

Collect all the glorious light coming their way

Transform the energy to feed the world

Fruit their goal, their hope, their song

No fruit, no life ahead

These trees will bear fruit

The leaves will do their job

And begin the cycle again

After the fruit is picked

Ripe and juicy

The old tired leaves will give

Their last hurrah

Decked out in the best of their colors

Gold, reds, oranges and yellows

The grand goodbye after all their labors

Before they fall to the ground

In storms of rain and wind

Will we like leaves

Live our lives

Dressed for the occasions

Of each stage of our being?

What are our goals, our passions?

Will they feed the lives coming after us?

How will we weather our storms and troubles?

Will we leave in a glorious hurrah

Having done all we can

To leave a rich inheritance

Of a life fully lived and a heart full of love

To the next generations?

© 2020 Julie Clark

Categories: beauty, growth, Hope, Life, Love, Poetry, Seasons, Trees | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Yesterday

Yesterday

I checked in with little Julie

You know, my inner child

There she was 

In her little dress

Sticking close to me

Every now and again

She would hold onto

The sides of her dress

And do a little twirl or

A little sashay

Then she would sit down

Again on the step

And keep her eye on me

She likes the quiet

She loves the bird song

She’s a little shy

A little skittish

She knows 

It is not safe out there

Too loud

Too confusing

Too dangerous

She is sticking 

Close to home

Close to me

Where she feels safe

© Julie Clark

Categories: Birds, children, Life, Poetry, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Am I Hoarding Jesus?

 

When I was a young person coming back to faith in Jesus in the mid 70’s I was taught I had the answers to the questions of life. My experience as I traversed different parts of the world and met different kinds of people that this was not all together true. Yes, my young life had changed as I made following and learning about Jesus a priority, but I had a lot to learn from the people I met. Yes, I could offer prayers and encouragement from my perspective and I did see people encouraged, and even recovered from sickness. Yet, I learned to be quick to listen, slow to speak. Well, I had to be, because I was learning a new language! One of the many gifts of learning a new language. I also was learning and seeing beautiful things in the culture and people around me that I had not learned in my own culture. I learned to look for what good things God was already doing in a person’s life and in their culture. I learned to affirm those good things. Of course every culture has it’s light side and dark side, including my own. Now as I look back on those early years I think it was arrogant and naive to believe I had all the answers. Is it possible that Christians are hoarding Jesus? Saying and teaching that the way I interpret his life and teaching is the only way seems a bit narrow and exclusive.  As if I know all the mysteries of Christ who died for the sin of the world, the very same who is reconciling all things, all people, all creation to himself. I do believe those points. I just don’t pretend to know what they mean exactly or how it will happen.

Here in the form of a poem are some reflections from Mark 9:38 – 41 John said to Him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, we tried to prevent him because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me…”

Here, the path is wide

The door flung open

Us and them dismantled 

Here, we celebrate 

Our commonality – our humanity

See the goodness in each other 

Here, the hoarding of Jesus

Is not allowed

Trust the outcome 

To the one true judge

Of all motives, all character

Here we love and respect

We build up and affirm

The God given love

In one another

© Julie Clark 2020

Categories: borderlands, Faith, God, growth, Love, Paths, Poetry, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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