Jettison

Do you remember pants with cuffs?

I don’t really understand the purpose of cuffs on pants.

Okay, that’s not completely true.  I recall pants I wore when I was a young boy.  They had cuffs.  Those cuffs didn’t resemble ones on the slacks which can be purchased in the local men’s wear shop at all.  Not at all.

I wore pants that could be grown into.  By that, you should understand that they were, more often than not, hand-me-downs passed to me from an older brother.

I am the youngest of four boys.  The possibilities for hand-me-downs were endless.  Sometimes, the hand-me-downs came to us already well-worn—shared by friends who had older boys than my oldest brother.

Hand-me-down hand-me-downs, you might say.

You get the picture.

Even when I was fortunate and the powers-that-be thought it prudent to purchase a new pair of jeans for me, they were always ordered (from the Sears & Roebucks catalog, of course) a size or two too big.

Either way—hand-me-downs or new—my pants always had cuffs.  Rolled up wads of material at the bottoms of the legs, they were always in the way.

But, the worst—absolutely the worst—were the times when I made the mistake of taking a shortcut through a dewy, damp field in the morning on my way to school.  Perhaps, I wasn’t going to school, but simply taking a Saturday stroll down to the fishing hole with the brothers.

The wet grass transferred its load of moisture directly into the cuffs—and, you guessed it, the cuffs would unroll.  Dragging the ground, the soaked cloth gathered all the dirt, leaves, and burrs to be found in the field.

That would be just the time some wise-guy would holler out, Hey! let’s race to the fishing hole!

Perhaps, it was only because I was the pipsqueak kid brother.  I blame the wet pants.  Either way, I was always the last one to the water’s edge.

The combination of the heavy dew and all the added debris hanging from the lowest extremity of my blue jeans made it feel like I was dragging one of the weights from our bodybuilding set behind each leg.

There was even one time. . .  No, that might not be appropriate here.  Let’s just suggest that it would be advisable to always wear a belt, and leave it at that, shall we?

You get the picture.  Cuffs, especially wet ones, are not a great fashion statement.

All that was years ago.  But even today my old friend from school days, Jeannean, gets out early on lots of mornings.  She walks through some of those same dew-covered fields and along some of those same levees I remember from my childhood.

DSC_3488
Dandelion. Photo by Jeannean Ryman

I bet she doesn’t wear rolled up jeans for the outings.

The camera she hauls along with her on those walkabouts captures some amazing shots.  She has been kind enough to allow me to use some of them on occasion.

I wonder.  In her photograph. which accompanies this page, can you see what covers the head of that puffball of a dandelion?  If necessary, you can click on the picture to enlarge it.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait for you.

The dew has settled into the white parachute-like stems above the tiny seeds and saturated them.  It’s not something that one would ordinarily care about, but those stems, every one of them, has a tiny hair-like umbrella, or parachute, structure at the end of it.

When the wind blows, the hairs stand out, catching the breeze and pulling the seed free from the plant. The seeds fly as far as the wind will carry them before gently dropping to the earth again, to repopulate again and again.

The dandelion in Jeannean’s photo has a slight problem.  You saw it, didn’t you?

When they are wet, the tiny hairs are plastered in place, unable to spread out and catch a ride on the wind.  Saturated with water, they cannot function.  If they do, in a heavy wind, get pulled from the plant, they will simply fall to the ground nearby, where they must strive with all the other seedlings for nutrients in the soil.

They were made for better things.

We were too.

There are so many things in this world that contrive to weigh us down.  Like the dew on the dandelion, or even the cuffs of a ragamuffin kid’s jeans, it seems always to be the mundane, the commonplace, which cause the most problems.

The words of the Apostle come to mind as I consider the truth in front of my nose.

The world is watching.  Time to shrug off the extra weight and the sin that is so bothersome.  In their full view, let’s run the race that is in front of us.  Steady now.  There’s a long way to go.  (Hebrews 12:1)

It’s impossible to float on the wind with all that extra weight, much less win a foot race with the others who are headed for the same fishing hole.

The course laid out for us in life is so much more important.  It calls for careful consideration.  We don’t need anything to weigh us down.

There’s still such a long way to go.

We don’t have to travel in hand-me-downs either.

I’m traveling light.

You?

 

 

“But I’ve been thinking, Mr. Frodo, there’s other things we might do without.  Why not lighten the load a bit?  We’re going that way now, as straight as we can make it.”  He pointed to the Mountain.  “It’s no good taking anything we’re not sure to need.”
Frodo looked again towards the Mountain.  “No,” he said, “we shan’t need much on that road.  And at its end, nothing.”
(from The Return of the King ~ J.R.R. Tolkien ~ English author ~ 1892-1973)

 

Travel light. Comb and toothbrush and no extra luggage.  Don’t loiter and make small talk with everyone you meet along the way.
(Luke 10:4 ~ The Message)

 

 

 

 

© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

3 thoughts on “Jettison

  1. Before I do anything that involves moving in the morning, I read HTL. It’s inspiring and they are a wonderful way to start the day. You have a wisdom gained through watching. Whether it be people or the dew on a plant. You remind me to look around and see God’s handiwork. It is everywhere. One must look past the mundane to find the beauty. It is everywhere. You can see it. Me. Not so much.

  2. Paul,
    Loved this one. It kinda reminded me of when my husband was stationed in Germany and he was on a field trip. A few of us got together and walked a Volksmarch. A nice long walk. There would be certain check-in points where they would have water, or even soup for those who walked. At the end you’d get a momento if you completed the walk. On one particular day it had rained and the roads were all muddy and wet. My jeans got so soaked and weighted down it was hard to walk at the end. Thanks for a lovely reminder.

    As far as your application, being weighted down. I’m afraid this is true for me. I am just weary. It tires me out when I see loved ones hurt and I can do nothing to alleviate their pain. Grief is a heavy load.

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