Monday, October 28, 2013

A Boy's Will is the Wind's Will

"A boy's will is the wind's will and the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." Longfellow

The SS America

It's hard to go back 100 years if you haven't lived it. But if you have lived it--it's a snap! Phoebe Josephine Pecore Nelson returned home to her mother in Rhinelander, WI to have her third child. My father, Willard Charles, was born on November 11, 1914. He will turn 99 years of age on what was termed Armistice Day which marked the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiegne, France in 1918.

In a few short weeks, family will meet to honor Willard's birth and long life. The son of a fisherman (and small resort owner) who grew up on Lake Superior, he looks at that giant Superior now and on any given day tells me the direction of the wind off the lake.

Just a few days ago, my dad said: "It's a southwest wind today; I can see whitecaps on the water." 

This startled a visiting Twin Cities' neighbor several years ago--who found it hard to see the waves herself! She was stunned he could! My dad has always had exceptional eyes for distance.

In the "old days," if fisherman ignored the wind on Lake Superior, they did it at their own peril. It is still the case.

Dad was born in a time when Germany invaded neutral Belgium, Babe Ruth joined the Red Sox, and Joseph Kennedy married Rose Fitzgerald in Boston. 

In January of 1914 Ford Motor Company established the eight-hour workday with the minimum wage of $5 for a day's labor. Later that year, Henry Ford had sold 248,000 cars. 

At just two weeks of age, my father and grandmother made the journey from Duluth to Lutsen, Minnesota on the SS America. In the 90's Dad mentioned three ships he may have been on for that trip: The *SS America, the Steamer Winyah (ship logs exist from 1933-1935) and the Edna A. He has said since then the other freighters came later. 

Fearing the baby could contract pneumonia, little Willard was allowed into the captain's chambers where liquor was place on his lips to ward off the chance of infection. When they reached the beginnings of Lutsen Resort at the mouth of the Poplar River, my grandfather Carl rowed a skiff out to the America to pick up his wife and second son. 

To still have a father who picks up his phone and calls me is a joy and peace difficult to translate from the heart in which it resides. It's a profound gift. I honor our relationship. We are very close; and I am--very blessed.

*In the pre-dawn hours on June 7, 1928, the SS America struck a submerged shoal off the shore of Isle Royale and had to be abandoned. Everyone made it off the ship in time. The America still lies off Isle Royale in the frigid waters.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Letting Go! Letting Go!

Letting Go, Letting Go
Let the Breezes Blow You!

Each oak and maple tree
Teaches me,
Come along each October:
About spiritual branches
Stretched just so;
Shimmering sighs of
Orange and gold,
While the wind weaves
The trees' whispers:
"Darlings, I'm letting go!
Letting go!
Let the breezes blow you!"

©1997 Connie Nelson Ahlberg

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Giving Healer at Dusk to You

Salto del Angel-Canaima-Venezuela

Peace of the sleeping birds to you;
Wonder of the tumbling waterfalls;
Peace, peace of your grandmother's quilt across your lap;

Love of the first birth to you;
Laughter of the first steps at your feet;

Soaring of the splendid eagle to you;
Running of the laughing child in the sun;
Spirit of your father of the nest to you;

Prayers of the Healers to you!
Blessed herbs from the verdant meadow for you;
Rest from the hunt to you;
And the putting down of bows;

Blessings of the circle dance to you;
And the grace of benediction of the sun;

The knowing of your own strength to you;
And the gratitude of your elders;
Joys of your son to you; 
Peace of each daughter now your friend;
Gratitude for each grandchild eating
The grain you have gathered;

Respect...honor for your life to you &
Endless peace at thy holy rebirth--&
Thanksgiving for the blessed ground you leave.

©2013 Connie Nelson Ahlberg - All Rights Reserved.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Is Grace Unmerited--or Is it One With Who We Are?

Is Grace "unmerited" or is it one with who we are? Have the old definitions lost the beliefs, the knowing, in the soul itself? Could grace be more the open gate to God?

With God's Divinity within us, how is grace unmerited?

To me Grace is a floodgate opened by prayer. Prayer is a part of grace. Prayer is Grace. It's through prayer abundant Grace descends and synchronicity, wonderment begin.

Our lives are our Greek saga, the endless tale, with the choice ever before us: can we, as author David Richo writes in Five Things We Cannot Change, "use our givens as graces?"

Our suffering becomes alchemist, we heal from being "broken open," as Rashani Rea illustrates in her book Beyond Brokenness. Our journey thus flows to translucent grace.

Inherent in our transformation, we have accepted the dark, the light, the gray, the shadows, the losses, the triumphs as a gift given back to ourselves, and a prayer on our knees to God.

Then we have honored our own lives. As Henri Nouwen has written: Love in the open hands.With our givens as graces we are unadorned before God and at home with Divinity.

Grace is one with who we are.