Puddles and Muddles, Ripples and Revelations


sitting alone on a rainy Monday.

Memorial Day.

a day to remember all those who have given their lives in the service of their country, bravely and sacrificially engaging in the tragic and seemingly unavoidable human irony of ‘fighting for peace’.

looking out my front window from my candlelit desk.

jotting some very random thoughts onto a very regulated (lined) note pad.

and then something unexpected caught my eye and captured my attention for a few fleeting moments.

a blue jay.

it’s brilliant plumage puncturing the grimy grey of the stormy day.

landing on a yard of recently roto-tilled dirt dotted with newly-planted bushes and trees.

hopping its merry way over the humus. pecking at the peat moss. scratching away at the surface of the soil. searching for some seeds.

and plopping into a puny, provisional ‘pond’ on the edge where the sidewalk and soil meet.

the puddle having appeared as the result of a sprinkler head snapping off and water slowly seeping into the ground.

for the faithful keepers of the grounds and myself, a minor annoyance soon to be remedied by a remodeled irrigation system.

for the blue jay, a bounteous, blessed basin in which to bathe.

a makeshift millpond of mud in which to be washed clean.

face refreshed, feathers flushed, and flying away in a matter of seconds.

and wee, winsome waves, remnants from rustling wings, gently rippling through the water.

i encounter a puddle appearing in the ‘wrong’ place resulting from a human-made system breaking down. and all i can see is a ‘problem’ to be solved by more human-made ingenuity.

a bird sees some dirty water that can make her clean.

people experience circumstances in life and brokenness in humanity that create caverns of confusion and conundrums of conflict, tiny puddles of pain in our psyches that transform into tumultuous torrents of muddle in our souls. and all we seem to do is rage against the machinery that has mangled our manifest destinies, and then manufacture new machinery to counteract those maniacal powers that have seemingly harrowed our hopes and destroyed our dreams.

nature seems to face circumstances as they come, and simply works with whatever life provides to move forward.

we live to eat and fight for peace.

a bird eats to live and flies IN peace.

and i’m reminded that the extent to which we are willing to give our lives is connected to what is essential in order to live our lives.

and that the sordid squalor in which we so often wallow and wrestle could actually be the sacred sanctuary in which we more often wander and wonder.

and that a tiny ripple in an inadvertent puddle can be the catalyst of remembrance, and contain the reverberations of revelation. 

Blue Jay - Puddles and Muddles, Ripple and Revelations by Brian Marsh, Missoula, MT


(NOTE: this is NOT the one that landed in my yard. for once, i was too busy actually paying attention to and engaging in the life right before my eyes rather than distracting myself by trying to ‘capture’ it, and missing the revelations that came enfolded in its curious careening.)


To see more of Brian’s writing, check out the Brian Marsh main page here at Make it Missoula. And for even more, check out his personal blog, Apocalypso Now.


i’m a wanderer and a wonderer.  a percussive and paradoxical pastor who exists happily (and hope-full-y) at the intersection of doubt and faith. journeying with my unique and special family (my wife, Kirsten, and sons, Ian and Trevor) whilst temporarily splitting my time between two unique and beautiful places (Missoula, Montana and Ukiah, California). restless and lazy, usually amazed, always in process, i’m continually surprised and usually delighted at discovering the extraordinary in the ordinary, the ‘sacred’ in the ‘secular’, the shafts of light that sneak into the shrouds of darkness. i drum decently, surf poorly, love multicultural food, music, and community, and living in the ‘Zoo.


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