Many-trunked fortress of spring


Photo taken on Kellogg Blvd. in St. Paul, MN

branches fret
Annette Marie Hyder

twine their legion fingers
and wring their bark-skinned hands
with a cold like this
even the twigs tremble
sap freezes
in the vein-stemmed interior
and the heart of spring
heretofore impregnable and unassailable
falters momentarily
in its many-trunked fortress.

I think of trees, with their sap filled trunks as strongholds against the cold of winter preserving the heartbeat of spring — no matter how faint. The trees, evergreen and deciduous alike, are a many-trunked fortress and to wander through a forest in winter is to twine through time suspended. It’s warming to know that the sap will rise, springtime will break free from well-meaning restraints of dark bark and warding wood, will come forth like a butterfly from the hard protective covering of its chrysalis and kiss those stalwart towers with pennant leaves and flowers.

Dog on a roof

Image courtesy Kare11 News


I haven’t been up on a roof in a while but I especially remember enjoying the get-away properties inherent in our flat-roofed house in Palma Sola, Florida. My older sister called in vain for me to come and do the dishes. I was happily ensconced  with a blanket and book and wouldn’t reemerge for hours (or until the dishes were done without me). I also had a favorite tree that I climbed that combined the same escape advantage with an excellent reading perch.

Well here is a story about a dog here in Minnesota whose love of climbing up on roofs lies in far more industrious motivations. Hayley, a golden retriever feels that she is part of the DeMars construction crew and ‘climbs a ladder as well as any other member of the crew.’

Kare11 News reports:

MANKATO, Minn. — It’s the slow time of year for the construction business, but when your public relations representative is a Golden Retriever named Hayley, jobs for DeMars Construction in Mankato seem to come a little easier.

No short of unusual, Hayley brings to the table a skill unlike any other dog-gone carpenter.

Hayley is able to climb up a ladder as well as any other on the team.

“She’s one of the guys, part of the crew,” said owner Max DeMars, who by the way is not directly related to the author of this story.

And like the crew, Hayley too can handle a two-by-four.

Since she was a pup, Hayley, now 10 years old, follows the crew wherever they go.

“One day we were up on the roof and there she was,” explained DeMars.  “Saying what about me.”

After hundreds of jobs over the years, she’s got a pretty good handle on climbing up the ladder, even when nobody else is up on the roof.

One cold January day her solo trip nearly got her in some hot water.

The crew was working on an addition for the Hosanna Lutheran Church in Mankato when a neighbor spotted her on top of the building.

The neighbor called police and a short time later an officer arrived.

Continue reading the story
Watch the video



Links of interest:
Rooftop Ice Skating Rink
Rooftops and Urban Agriculture
Lyrics to ‘Up On the Roof’ sung by James Taylor, Lyrics by Gerry Goffin – Carole King

Baptist American group in Haiti: saving orphans or child trafficking?

USA Today reports:

U.S. group held after fleeing Haiti with children

American church members say they were saving orphans. Haitian officials allege an adoption scheme.

Members of a church group that tried to take Haitian children out of the country may have succumbed to an urge many humanitarian groups feel but resist, aid organizations say.

Ten American Baptists were scheduled to have a hearing today in the Haitian capital after trying to take 33 children out of Haiti at a time of growing fears over possible child trafficking.

The church members, most from Idaho, said they were trying to rescue abandoned and traumatized children even though they lacked the proper paperwork to do so.

“The instinct to swoop in and rescue children may be a natural impulse,” Deb Barry, a child-protection expert with Save the Children, said in a statement Sunday. “The possibility of a child being mistakenly labeled an orphan in the chaotic aftermath of the disaster is incredibly high.”

Instead of ferrying children out of Haiti, Save the Children and UNICEF say they’re working to register children, including the 33 traveling with the Baptist group, to reunite family members who may be looking for one another.

The incident comes after Haiti’s government halted adoptions over concern that parentless or lost children are more vulnerable than ever to child trafficking.

Social Affairs Minister Yves Cristallin said the Americans were suspected of taking part in an illegal adoption scheme.

The group said its “Haitian Orphan Rescue Mission” was an effort to save abandoned children from death by taking them to an orphanage across the border in the Dominican Republic. The church members were arrested Friday night on a bus traveling with earthquake survivors ages 2 months to 12 years.

“In this chaos the government is in right now, we were just trying to do the right thing,” the group’s spokeswoman, Laura Silsby, said at the judicial police headquarters in the capital where the Americans were being held. No charges had been filed.

“Just because it’s a natural disaster doesn’t mean you can cut corners under what is under normal circumstances a legal and well-thought-out process,” Patrick McCormick of UNICEF said.

Read the entire article here.

Hastiness and ill-conceived actions

The plans of the diligent one surely make for advantage, but everyone that is hasty surely heads for want. — Proverbs 21:5
(Link to various translations of Proverbs 21:5)

However sincere and well-meaning the group of Baptist Americans may have been in their adoption fiasco, they would have done well to apply the above cited biblical scripture to their church organized actions. Anyone can identify with the desire to help the afflicted and save the distressed, but helping and saving have to be done in accordance with well-established rules and protocol.

Like the man from UNICEF said, “You can’t just go and take a child out of a country no matter what country you’re in. This is not what is done. There are processes that need to be followed. You can’t just pick up a child and walk out of the country with the child, clearly, no matter what your best intentions are.” — Kent Page, spokesman for UNICEF in Haiti.

Quote source: ABC News

Widows and fatherless boys
Annette Marie Hyder

Were our clothes old
hand-me-down, second time around
G/goodwill leftovers?

Did we feel the same?

You gave us your
glances down noses
picked clean of any
imperfections,
your shoulder stiff
from the effort of saying
rejection with embrace.

Did we notice?

Your exhortations
to live and be content
with little
came speckled with fat,
with cream, with gravy
from your food heavy mouth.

Could we hear you
through that mush?

The chill of our want
pricks along my mind
goose flesh the cloth
we had in common —
deprivations bind.

We see your shoulders breaking
in the vise of your hypocrisy.

Your teeth are soft now
like mushrooms
from the decay you spout.
We watch them fall
out of your mouth
that has been as used
as a cliché.