Grace Notes
A hopeful newspaper column ~ by Natalie Costanza-Chavez
God Words

God Doesn’t Push Birds from Branches
When I was eight, a harried religious teacher, while trying to present a lesson, scared me by saying that my life had already been planned. She then passed out crayons and tried to ignore my waving hand.
You Can’t Prove Prayer Works
I found myself, again this month, trying to read Scientific American. I do okay the News Scan sections – short blurb pieces summarizing some fascinating tidbit about bats or fires or street cleaning. It’s when turn get past the center staple and hit the full blown color picture accompanying the first feature article that I know I’m in trouble.
Can We Wreck God?
My sons are blustering for action or shooing away. I pull out a cookbook, ancient and dotted with the splatterings of a woman far more productive than I. It has a candy section and I flip to the whimsical pages.
Grace-Note #44 – ran on 10/23/05
A blanket hangs over my stairwell. It is the color of bougainvillea on a fogless day, the color of a Christmas cactus bloom in the white of January, the color pink so vivid and deep it glows. It is nearing 200 years old, brought to this country by my great great Grandmother from the 67 square mile Island of Faial, one of the Portuguese Islands forming the Azore archipelago, in the North Atlantic Ocean. She got it from her father when it was already old, after her mother had died, when she was in need of bundling, of wrapping, of warmth.
Painted Ladies
The rabbitbrush is full of painted ladies – if each branch had eyelashes, these butterflies would be winks – orange-black, orange-black, orange-pink-black. The boys wave their arms and a bush blinks with movement, wings like kites rise oblique, then close and land back -- again still. They are resting here, for now.
The Hard Freeze
Today you are feeling a loss – you woke with it, your arm aching under your head, eyes not yet open. You came into the weight of it dim and hazy and wondered, what went wrong? What’s happened? It is still dark. You are disoriented, shaken slightly though you have not moved.
Fountains and a Blink-long Second
The accoutrements of so-dubbed “Spiritual spaces” are now for sale. First we are to designate a “sacred spot” – then we are to decorate. It must end up deeply colored, pillow scattered, candle-lighted, and seashell or river-rock adorned. It must have a bamboo mat, or an Indian rug, or a textured daybed.
A Field Trip, some Moons, and Translating God
Our children rode the school bus and we followed to the Boulder Planetarium. At each red light, seemingly a hundred white and brown little hands waved from the back windows. Field trip day.