A Prayer for Musicians and Artists

Autumn in the Ozarks is an exercise in deciphering metaphors. Colors shift, and every tree seems a personification of a different truth. The modesty of the lady maples wanes, green giving way to a more inviting rouge. She mixes her wine for the mighty oak, who's yellowing foliage is not a thing of cowardice, but rather of rarity. Neither saffron nor citrine are native to these hills; the autumnal oak is our gem.

The rivers overflow these days, saturated by the fall rains that wash through the region. The white bass have long-since made their run through the spawning grounds and have returned to deeper waters. The fishermen have moved to deeper waters, too, allowing these banks a sort of reprieve, a Sabbath. The squirrels sense the deepening stillness, and work double-time to gather a winter's worth of acorns, walnuts, and Arkansas hazelnuts. One river's rest is another rodent's work, after all. They gather and gather under the eye of the bald eagle, who wonders whether a juvenile might make easy pickings for its young.

Maybe it's a bold statement, but [tweetherder]autumn seems an evidence of the thinness of the veil between heaven and earth.[/tweetherder] The colorful metaphors show a glory beyond the simple natural order. Here, glory turns and fills; here, it gathers and hunts. Here, it is.

This is my favorite season in the Ozarks. I see God everywhere in it.


Today's piece is inspired by the Prayer for Church Musicians and Artists from the Book of Common Prayer. It reads:

O God, whom saints and angels delight to worship in heaven: Be ever present with your servants who seek through art and music to perfect the praises offered by your people on earth; and grant to them even now glimpses of your beauty, and make them worthy at length to behold it unveiled for evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

  *Photo by Bhanu Tadinada, Creative Commons, via Flickr.



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Friday Journal: Tiny Letters and Ironic Post-Hipster Bluebirds

We'd been in the coolest summer snap in all of recorded Ozarkan history before that old dog Summer decided to growl. I’d was bragging to a friend in southern California about how we’d barely broken 90 degrees, was in the midst of really hamming it up when Hades himself decided to visit his fiery wrath upon Fayetteville. He came with a vengeance and brought a sweaty, sweltering electric blanket with him. By-gum if all this heat hasn’t made me half-crazy. Yesterday, I was sitting at my desk when this thought came to roost: I’d like to have a pet bluebird; I’d take it to a tattoo artist and have a human inked on its wing. This, I realize, is probably an impossible thing, but in this age of waning hipster relevancy, it struck me as an ironic post-hipster culture thing to do.

Of course, a friend or two poked fun at the notion. Alex asked exactly what the bluebird would do when its feathers started sagging in old age. I’m not sure if that’s a possible thing for a bluebird, but as my first grade teacher Ms. Burr used to say, “there’s no such thing as a stupid question.” My seventh grade football coach said much the same thing, but added, “only stupid people,” which is neither here nor there for purposes of this discussion. (Or is it, Alex?)

Digressions aside, the heat has gotten to me, has made me long for Autumn here in the Ozarks. Autumn is, without a doubt, my favorite time of year in this fair college-town. The people of Fayetteville love their autumnal sports, Arkansas Razorback football being chief among them, and they drive their Razorback vehicles to and fro, begin to dress exclusively in their University-sanctioned Razorback gear. It is a sight to behold.

Last year, I passed an old man on the town square who was wearing a red suit accented by a Razorback tie with matching pocket square. He wore red bucks and a white straw hat and swung a cane with razorback topper. My gaze must have lingered a little too long, because as we neared each other, he stopped and asked “you think it's a little much?” I chuckled. He chuckled back and offered, “I suppose that was a stupid question.” I looked at him dead in the eye, cocked my head and said “my seventh grade football coach used to say there was no such thing as a stupid question.”

*****BIG NEWS*****

I’ve had a good time here at SethHaines.com. In the past few years, I’ve enjoyed the community that’s gathered around the virtual fireplace, that’s stretched into my poetry, prose, and general ramblings. And though I don’t plan on going anywhere, I’m starting a new side project—a Tiny Letter.

“What’s a Tiny Letter?”

I’m glad you asked (or rather allowed me ask for you).

The Tiny Letter is my monthly (sometimes bi-monthly) newsletter in which I’ll be discussing everything from my personal creative projects, to my favorites in music, books, poetry, and general creative tomfoolery. I’ll likely introduce you to a friend or two, and perhaps give you the inside scoop on the places I go. I’ll be a little less filtered, and will deal in greater depth with my struggles in coming clean from dependency and addiction. The Tiny Letter will be delivered directly to your inbox, and you’ll be able to respond by way of email.

In September’s Tiny Letter, I’ll be breaking some fairly big news (as far as I’m concerned, anyway), and the scoop will only be available to my Tiny Letter subscribers. So, if you’d like to join this little community, subscribe here:

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And for those of you who haven’t yet subscribed to receive my blog content in your inbox, allow your eyes to wander to the left hand side of the screen. See that red box? Enter your email and subscribe for my blog updates. (You know you want to.)


Today, I'm refraining from sharing any links. Instead, let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King.

*Photo by Doug Wertman, Creative Commons via Flickr.