Today I Will Rake Leaves


Today I will rake leaves

In spite of the wind

And rain

In spite of the leaves that still remain on the trees

Which will soon fall

These leaves which will watch my work

Knowing that if I simply waited

That when the trees were bare

And the winds continued to blow

That I would not need to

With rake in hand

Occupy my time with raking leaves

Today I will rake leaves because I need to be reminded

My ego has consumed my thoughts

And I am deceiving myself

For whatever that might mean

Reminded that my wants are only mine

Chaos comes and goes like the tide

Yet never leaves

And often beauty and order is temporary

Always temporary

All things are temporary

Today I rake leaves so I can be at peace with the struggle

And realize that it is not a struggle

It is a single movement

With resistance as much a part of the whole as fluidity

The leaves will blow away

Or get bagged

The lawn will appear as green

And clean

I will feel as if the task is done

But it is not

Some may tell me this effort is wasted

I must be at peace with that

As I must capitulate to the rain which also suggests I make better use of my time

Nothing I say or do will change these facts

The leaves will remain until removed

The leaves will fall until the trees are empty

The rain will fall

The wind will blow

And I will rake leaves

Jars of Clay – The Inland Review

It has been almost three years since Jars of Clay released Shelter, a disc which Glenn McCarty of heralded as “a clarion call to unity” relative to the Christian community. Lead singer Dan Haseltine noted, “…we were already thinking about a project that would be specific for the church.” But on Inland, their first release as an “indie” band, the central focus is a bit more existential.

In an interview with Hans Schiefelbein, keyboardist Charlie Lowell says of Inland:

It’s where we all live- caring about work, family, faith, doubt, the world around us- but really struggling to connect them and find lasting meaning out of them all. So we approached this record process with that in mind- our goal was to write in those specific moments of humanity, and to put the many voices we have accumulated over the years behind us.

Since 1995 when their debut single “Flood” further closed the gap between pop and Christian music, Jars have been a band that refused to compromise their faith nor their crossover viability. For every directly religious “Love Song for a Savior” there was a more universally accessible “Work“. Yet even amidst the brambles of praise and pop music that is their entire catalog, they always managed to present the subject matter with a poetic elegance so both believer and non-believer alike could take in the experience.

Being Agnostic allowed for a first hand appreciation of Jars’ artisanship, a sentiment which I thought peaked at their 2006 release Good Monsters. It is with great joy that I announce Inland as the new standard. Taking its theme from The Odyssey, the new disc asks the listener to reflect on their pilgrimage through life. The beauty in its presentation is that you do not need to have faith in God for the message to resonate.

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