Mrs. Beverly and I got to know each other at the soup kitchen. She and her husband, Terry, were there to volunteer, as we were. We hit it off immediately! It did not take us long to find that we had a similar love for writing. We also had fun discussing reading as well. She suggested a few books for me to read. (I am constantly searching for fellow readers.)
Later, Beverly told me in an email that she was not a gatherer. I told her that anyone who comes regularly to provide a place for homeless people to eat is ABSOLUTELY a gatherer...it just looks different.
It just so happened that my birthday fell on a soup kitchen night. Beverly and Terry were there...present in hand. She had found out it was my birthday and had BOUGHT me one of the books she had suggested to me the month earlier! I nearly cried. I would plug the book, but that is another post I plan to write...stay tuned.
Finding out that Beverly had been following my blog was a huge compliment to me. (Her writing is far superior to mine!) I know you will enjoy this post as much as I have! And be sure to check out their website www.frozenzen.com . You will not be disappointed! It is a feast for the eyes..and encouragement for the heart.
The Cowboy's Lament
by Beverly Vaughan Acker
“He loves to read,” says the tall lanky cowboy talking about his 12 year old son. Those words were filled with such despair. This is a REAL cowboy talking. Skin weathered by decades in the sun; eyes dimmed by constantly scanning the horizon for “his” cows; and legs bowed from thousands of hours in the saddle.
The cowboy is our personal guide on a beautiful Utah morning. God’s sun has yet to peak up over the horizon and we wait expectantly in the cool breeze of pre-dawn, gazing over Cathedral Valley, a remote and often inaccessible part of Capitol Reef National Park. Our cameras are poised and ready to capture the slowly creeping light that will illuminate two huge (over 400 feet high) monoliths—the Temple of the Sun and Moon. All is still, but not quiet. There is a unique sound to nature that only can be heard in special times when the air becomes almost motionless. It is as if all of nature catches its breath right before the dawn, giving tribute to God’s miracle called morning.
In the midst of all this grandeur and stillness, the cowboy continues his discouraged lament. He wants his son to climb trees, ride horses, smell fresh air, delight in the wonders of God’s creation—and, instead, “he loves to read.”
With those words my cowboy transports me to a summer day many years ago in rural Mississippi. A 7 year old girl, all arms and legs, grasps her mother’s hand. Black hair cut short in a duck tailed swoop, handmade sundress, tanned feet meeting sparkling white sandals, and skinny legs vibrating in anticipation. Mom and daughter stand in the heat on a hot dusty road outside the Country Store.
There is an air of expectancy here too—but not of a glorious sunrise—instead they are waiting for a caravan of dreams and imagination to arrive. It’s the little girl’s first grade summer and with her sadness of school ending (she LOVES school) here is something exciting about to happen. She can hardly wait. Then, around the corner it comes. You can hear the wheels turning and the motor chugging—it’s the Book Mobile!
This small library on wheels (much smaller than today’s UPS truck) carries more delights than an ice cream store. AND, FINALLY, the little girl can read! She gingerly steps into the dim interior, kneels before the bottom shelf, and reaches for this treasure chest of books.
That was the start of a life long love affair with reading. Many, many, many decades later, when describing his wife, the little girl’s husband will say, “She loves to read.” And, yes, I am the little girl.
It’s funny that Betsy should ask me to write a “summer” memory. I am NOT a summer girl. When the digital thermometer hits something that starts with a “7 “ my heart sighs with regret. I am a fall/winter girl. LOVE that crisp clean air, layers of clothing, breathe that fogs and sparkling blue skies—or even gray ones with a touch of snow in the air! Yes, that’s right I love gray, rainy days when the clouds open their floodgates. Strange, I know, but that’s me. So, I struggled with Betsy’s request. Sure, I had summer memories of playing under the water hose and walking down cow paths of imagination, but none of these resonated with me for a story to tell. And then, the morning after Betsy emailed me, I met the Cowboy and he transported me back to what I love most in my youthful summers – reading.
Once a week that caravan of adventure brought the world to my door. With my mother’s guidance I quickly advanced from first readers to chapter books and by summer’s end I was immersed in the world of Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth—otherwise known as Little Women. Although I am an only child, through the years I have solved mysteries with Nancy, Frank and Joe; rode windswept sands with a beautiful black stallion; sat in prison with Joseph; quivered with fear beside Queen Esther; and celebrated resurrection Sunday with the Marys. Through reading I discovered beautiful worlds I longed to one day experience which sparked a love of adventure, travel, learning—and a love of BOOKS. (To my husband’s chagrin, I still can’t tell time in a bookstore.) That Caravan of Dreams and the mother who guided me through them, bode me well for all the years to come—three advanced college degrees with a doctorate in law and an ABD PhD, president of a large engineering company, travel to some of the most beautiful places in the world, and marriage to my best friend—all with my wonderful merciful Lord at my right hand. You see I believe God had (and has) a plan for me—and it all started with a wonderful guiding mother and that treasure chest on the bottom shelf of the Caravan of Dreams.
So, my mind turns back to Cathedral Valley and my cowboy. I understand my cowboy’s longing for his son to “go outside.” He wants his son to experience the world he, the cowboy, loves. Just like my mother wanted me to experience her love of the world of books. What the cowboy may not yet comprehend is that a love of reading can lead to the outside. Through the years I have become passionate about our spiritual need to experience God’s gift of creation—to “go outside” and celebrate this special gift He made just for us; and where did that passion spring from— a love of reading. I would love to tell the cowboy all of this but somehow the time doesn’t seem right. So, as God’s rays of sunshine first strike the Temple of the Sun and Moon, I smile at the cowboy and say, “Don’t worry. God has a plan for him and a love of reading is guaranteed to be a wonderful part of it.”
Beverly and her husband,Terry, have a website and photography business. All the pictures in the article (with the exception of the book picture) are their photographs. They are extremely talented adventurers. In their travels they have allowed their loves of photography and writing to mesh together in a most beautiful way.
Click the link www.frozenzen.com to see go straight to their website. The photographs are stunning. Beverly also writes on the website as well! You can also click on www.frozenzenphotography.com to check out more of their photographs. Follow Beverly and Terry on Instagram @frozenzen and you can enjoy their beautiful photography all the time!