Archive for July, 2021

Haunted, By Goodness

Posted in Uncategorized on July 30, 2021 by michaelcogdill

I haven’t posted of her in a while.

I am now, for I am haunted by the goodness of my mother.

There’s no believing it’s been almost a year since she died with her hand in mine. She left my hand, but left me something that cannot be held.

Miss Polly lived her modesty, quiet in her goodness. She spoke well of others. Unkindness saddened her. Sweetness elated her. Her smile came as easy as dawn. Her soul knew no moonless night, even on her saddest road. She loved everyone, doted on those who could do nothing for her. She made everybody feel like they had a mother in her. She had one child, me. I shared her with many, many more. She was ahead of her time in the seasons of civil rights, she was right about not telling everything she knew, she would abide no wrongheaded talk.

Speak well. Do well. Her insistence.

My mother was heard to say she was proud of my career, but more proud of who I am. The truth is I need to be a far better man to live up to that. To live up to so deeply good a woman.

This is my haunting, or at least some parts of it. I keep the rest to myself. Pondering my mother’s ways in the heart of manhood made strong by her.

Haunted, By Goodness

Posted in Uncategorized on July 30, 2021 by michaelcogdill

Tantrum In Blue

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2021 by michaelcogdill

There’s artistry to a thunderhead.

So high. Risen so fast. Loud and hot and beyond control.

Tonight we have a lightning fit going on. A tantrum of blue, turned loose at 100 million volts. Summertime having its say.

Lightning flashes around earth about 3 million times every day. Perilous and lovely.

Before we had science at today’s level, imagine what humankind thought of thunder and lightning. Imaginations rampant, and wrong. People no doubt thinking the world about to end, when it’s just the earth having a day. A day like any other.


Creation, being itself.

Science helps us understand the world, and our place in it. Kepler, Pascal, Hawking, on and on. But Einstein said imagination is more important than knowledge. I believe rather than doomsday, we ought set our imaginations to the music of the beauty in things.

Especially when it’s a thing way bigger, and stouter, than we are. A rhapsody, and a tantrum, in blue.

Unlimited Sky, Unlimited Motherhood

Posted in Uncategorized on July 2, 2021 by michaelcogdill

Ben skipped high school graduation. Not school itself, he’s no fool.  But the ceremony had to go.  Ben had to go. 

He had a date, dressed in yellow.  A lady much older than he. A lady nonetheless. 

On the day of his graduation, Ben Templeton went to a little country airfield.  Instead of walking with the grads, he climbed into a 1946 Piper Cub for a spin around America.  An old tail wheel airplane, clothed in yellow fabric, dressed for a trip way beyond the reach of most 18-year-old boys. A young heart in an old airplane, touching 48 states. A low altitude acquaintance with an America most Americans never see as he has.

He will never be the same. Neither will his mother.

His mom Christine magnifies the whole adventure through her tears. A good mother helps us see the adventure of being a man. Her pride sights our way out of the tempest of boyhood. Her pride lights our way home.

Christine felt a little unsteady as he left.  How she let him go can steady us all.

Reporting the story of Ben’s blast off, his full-throated feel of solo flying just north of childhood, something struck your correspondent here. A mother feels things no man ever will.  She loves and safeguards her son more than her own heart.  She troubles over what might be.  We boys, no matter our age, know this. But we get stimulated by life, pulled away by dangers as our companions.

We are born to leave our mothers. I am reminded they will never leave us. No matter our dream’s altitude, they soar with us, into them. A good mother’s fears never hold us down. She sees to it.

At that country airfield that day, Christine shed tears over her boy, then set him loose to the sky. She let him fly, early in his days. She let go. Off he went, not entirely without her

I had such a mother. She never made fun of the dream that was far too big and high for me. She helped me grow into it. It took courage. Hers first.

I’m reminded mothers have mettle fit for a million men.

When they let go their sons, having pulled us up into gentlemen as only a mother can, they gift us with the good that might become of us. Their courage becomes ours. They teach us that fear is but withered imagination. They imagine the best of us.

We get to choose how well we live up to them.

What might become of us is our imagination and theirs. They are strong. They make us so.

Ben Templeton, a young heart in an old plane, makes this truth new, for us all. Thanks to a mother, who reminds us the words of Emerson, “Men are what their mothers made them.”