“Wisdom begins in wonder.” ~Socrates
Last Easter we planted a Chinese Fringe tree in our front yard. It already had white blooms and as more opened, the tree was covered with clusters of small white blooms. It is a deciduous tree and the blooms appear after the leaves each Spring. As temperatures soared in July, we noticed a few brown leaves and then more. We made sure the little tree was watered deeply every day; for awhile it seemed that we would lose it. But over a period of weeks, new green leaves outnumbered the brown ones. Gradually, the tree announced its survival
Withering drought has caused loss of many trees in our area, particularly recently planted ones. I am glad our little tree is a survivor!. In the springtime we often talk about new beginnings and renewal. I am glad for the fringe tree’s lesson – when I am experiencing a season of drought in my soul, there can be another Spring.
Anyone who has been around small children knows how often we hear the question “Why?” I have been asking that question about my fig harvest this year. We have a fine fig tree in the garden that typically has so many green figs it is hard to keep up with the harvest as they ripen. This year we had an unusually wet June and although there were hundreds of green figs and they began to ripen early, harvest slowed and stopped completely in the second week. Our brutal Texas heat came on suddenly. My research tells me the tree went into conservation mode and began aborting its fruit. Even though we watered heavily, nothing brought back the production so the hard little green figs began to drop to the ground, wasted and of no use to anyone. Not even the birds would eat them.
The problem is that figs are shallow rooted and easily stressed. That reminded me of my own need for being rooted deeply to be able to take the heat and avoid reacting in damaging ways to the stress of our uncertain times!
” May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love;” Ephesians 3: 17, The Living Bible
My neighbor recently brought me a gift: a bunch of fragrant French Tarragon. tied with yellow ribbon. Tarragon can be very frail, difficult to grow, but also quickly losing its sweet licorice like flavor. Unlike most herbs, drying the leaves weakens the flavor so this lovely gift needed to be used right away. As I later stood in my kitchen chopping the sweet smelling, silvery leaves to put into sauce for Tarragon Chicken, I smiled, picturing my neighbor as she cut and tied up my herb bouquet. I packed up a serving of the dish to take over to her. Gifts are appreciated best by using them. Our gratitude is best expressed in making use of what we are given!.
I have written in earlier posts about finding feathers. I have chosen to believe when I find a feather, it is one way God says he is with me and providing for me. A feather is also a symbol that small things are important. My 9 year old granddaughter came to me this week with this feather. She said, “Granmary, this is another feather to go with the others.”
I am grateful for this girl and her generosity. It is important for me to remember that what I do and say is seen and heard. Small things are important.
These words are powerful all by themselves. At times when I am feeling overwhelmed or bewildered, I sometimes choose one just one to help me focus or to use in a breath prayer. But I love seeing them gathered like this.
all gathered together
leaning on each other
Among the herbs in my garden, purple cone-flower, or Echinacea, stands out because of its flowering in our summer heat. It is not just a pretty bloom that looks like a purple daisy. Used for hundreds of years for its medicinal benefits, it could tell so many stories. The large center cones are actually seed heads. I am thinking of how many new plants can grow from only these three.
flower on in summer’s heat
build your mountain of seeds
to let them go
and begin another story
This box of impatiens and Caladium on the wall at the edge of the back porch reminds me how much nourishing water it requires in our summer heat. Without this shade and daily watering, the blooms stop, the stalks wilt and leaves begin to curl. The container, made of measuring sticks, and the fading sign speak of need, too. Yes, it is a wonderful life, as long as I am refilled with wonder. Wonder. Full.
How quickly our front porch nest scene moved from the wrens’ nest building to those beautiful little spotted eggs to incubation and hatching. Hatchling to nestling to fledgling bird, now this one last photo captured the moment before down wisps waved in the wind and became flight feathering. The next time I saw the nest the tiny beaked face lifted above the little scraps of wings, tumbled over the edge and in one scurry disappeared into my Katy Ruellia at the porch edge. Now I only see a still, silent nest although I hear wren song in the trees.
No empty nest pathos
Is that a triumphant note I hear?
On to living and singing
Until nest time next year?
Words in these lines from William Henry Channing create a leit motif as we slow down into the pace and space of summer. The song of this tiny feathered friend perched on the back of our porch swing calls me to stop and look and listen. And sing.
listen to stars and birds and babies and wisdom
open my heart
let the holy grow up through the common
“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common — this is my symphony.”
William Henry Channing