They say it's a terrible thing to see a grown man cry, but when you see a whole roomful of tough-as-jerky, dried-up old cowpokes who never talk except to say hello, good-bye, and excuse me, all broken down with weeping it's a kind of relief.  That day in the auditorium there were a lot of very tough people, men and women, choked up.
 ...Other people stood to speak.  The preacher talked about Jesus, but was honest enough to allow that, though Frank took Christ as his saviour, he was no "Religionist" and never went to church, but worked on Sundays like any other rancher any other day.  He never needed any church but the one he rode over on his horse.
     After the audience filed out I sat as the pallbearers loaded the flag-draped coffin into the hearse, and then the room was empty except for Frank's old saddle up on the stage, an old, burnt-up lariat coiled loosely and hung over the high, old-fashioned pommel and saddle horn.  All around it were flowers.
- James Galvin, The Meadow

Old Buechner said to take notice at tears, to follow them for they reveal much, if not most, about you and who you are and what you're here for.  I read this passage from Galvin's redolent book this morning and sat and wept, just wept.  I don't rightly know why, but I just know that this grown man cried and while it was terrible in one sense, it was a kind of relief in another.  As I've had a few moments to trace the tracks on my cheeks, I've sensed the tears have something to do men and toughness and Jesus and horses and the tender land...and no doubt, my father.  I pray this sense will stay present with me throughout this day, and that all around it there might be flowers.


  1. Tears are proof that the spirit in us is not dead, or held hostage by a mask. I love that tears roll, they don'tjust appear and hang out, but they come out moving, and they trace a track down the life we're living... Those fast kid tears, running accrues supple new skin and dripping off the new curve of the cheek... and the older tears, that have to fill up the grace that God has drawn around our eyes before they ever hit the whiskers. And on those days that the eyes and the workers cannot contain all that springs forth... It's those days that saddle will bear what the face cannot.

    May the sun that warms all the grows first light the tears before it dries them away.

  2. When we're watching a movie or TV show or what-have-you which brings tears to Big's eyes, well...he never looks more tender to me. He's a great provider. He's a great dad. But the fact that he's tender-hearted means more than anything to me.

  3. saw your comment on Mair's fb page and had to follow the trail - it lead me here. I have been singing Smokey Robinson's "Tracks of my Tears" all morning after watching the Yosemite double rainbow youtube video and listening to this stranger glory in the beautiful gift from God he received.

    I bumped into Mark Yaconeli (Mike's son) after he died and I became a blubbering, slobbering cry baby right in front of him. He was so gracious - I couldn't even get out the words I wanted to pass on to him of my grief for his loss and mine. I apologized and he said "did you know that the Catholics believed that tears were a prayer, they water the ground at our feet to make it receptive to what will soon grow." I haven't looked at my tears the same way since.

    Thanks for connecting some dots for me today.