Caffeine, Saints’ Rhythms, and an Arctic Bird

They say that caffeine stimulates the brain and can bring alertness, increased firing of synapses and creativity to an otherwise tired mind.  I need caffeine; I am tired, and bored.  Hence, I have a cup of Irish Breakfast by my side, cooling in the morning breeze coming in the window.
Several times a week, I complain of how bored I am.  Don’t we all?  Doesn’t it seem that we sit and asked ourselves from time to time, “Is this it?”  Maybe it’s the circles I find myself squared into, but I do hear it out there beyond the circles as well. 
What are we to make of this life?  Is there really a next life?  A heaven?  Faith, I guess, is what some of us need.
I’ll stop at going any longer on this topic.  It gets boring.  Who wants to read what we all already know?  Life is more complicated and less carefree as you add the years on year after year after year. 
A few sips of tea have passed my lips.  Paul Simon’s “The Rhythm of the Saints” is playing in the background.  I look over at the photo of St. Francis of Assisi that a friend of ours gave us upon our return from Africa .  He took it himself, a nice black and white taken down at the grotto of Mount Saint Mary’s. 
My middle name’s Francis, and in the Catholic tradition, St. Francis of Assisi is my patron saint, the one for who my middle name takes on a religious purpose.  Francis was also my paternal grandfather’s name.  It was in honor of him that my parent’s gave me the name Francis. 
Grandpa was cantankerous.   When we arrived at the farm, I never knew whether he would smile at our arrival, or threat to get out the “wood medicine” because maybe we jumped out of the truck nagging each other the way brothers and sisters do. 
Francis of Assisi, from what little I know of his life, seems to be the better fit for my middle name connection.  He was a loner, a mystic who lived in communion with the natural world around him, a renowned lover of animals.  I could never be that though, I lack discipline. Thoreau, I think I could manage that—live by a pond on the edge of town in a small cabin, walking into town for vegetables or companionship when needed.  May I have my wife with me in that cabin?  That wouldn’t be Thoreau though, would it!!
I pray I can feel the rhythm of the saints someday.  A good ol’ shakedown that rattles the bones of my soul would be nice.
A cup of tea is in my belly.  Another cup sits by my side.  Paul’s still singing…”born at the instant/the church bells chime/and the whole world whispering/born at the right time.”  
A few times I have imagined that the birds that sit on the fence in our backyard are there to carry my negative thoughts away.  On their wings I put things like:  We are at war and I am sitting in peace sipping a cup of tea listening to music while hitting a keyboard on a computer hooked up to wi-fi.  
I put that thought on the wings of a beautiful red cardinal a few minutes ago, hoping that it might just go away.  But the cardinal lives in the neighborhood.  He always comes back, like my thoughts.  I wish I could find a bird flying up to the Arctic so that it can drop my thoughts into that big grey ocean.  Maybe that deep water would dilute my thoughts out and they would eventually drift away.
I’m feeling less tired and bored now.  I think what they say about caffeine is right.  My second cup is almost empty. 
Paul’s singing “Spirit Voices.”
And birds are chirping.
(written 7 May 2006)

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