Sitting, Still

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This bloom on a small container potted shrub reminds me of another purple bloom, in another place, the garden we moved away from a few months ago. It also reminded me that I still need to sit, that I need to be still. The birds and flowers are different, but there are yet the settling and knowing, the holy moments.

“Sitting in your garden is a feat to be worked at with unflagging determination and single-mindedness – for what gardener worth his salt sits down. I am deeply committed to sitting in the garden.”       – Mirabel Osler

Sitting still is necessary for so many things: I listen better when I sit still.  I hear things unheard when I am crunching on the gravel or digging or clipping.  The butterflies and hummingbirds come closer when I am still.  The cardinal pair lingers longer on the fence.  Appreciation and savoring of beauty may run after me when I am on the move but they settle around my shoulders like a soft cover when I sit still.  And in the stillness I begin to settle – the cloudy debris of things which can fret and hurt begin to drift to the bottom, leaving pure, clear knowing.  Holy moments can happen when I sit in my garden.   (Reposted from this blog, written on August 17, 2013.)

Still true, in a very different garden. Three years ago, this is the picture I posted, a different purple bloom on the Vitex tree in that garden.

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Deliverance

dragonflyfree A few days ago as I sat on our back porch after watching the sunrise, I noticed a dragonfly near the edge of Bougainvillea planted nearby. Something about it made me get closer to pay attention.  Then I saw the dragonfly was trapped in a strand of spider web and had beat the edges of one wing to fray.  Now it hung suspended with only an occasional wiggle.  I called to my husband, who reached up and gently disentangled the lacy wing and held him in the palm of his hand, then placed him on a begonia leaf.  We watched happily  as awareness came, wings lifted, and the dragonfly flew away. The photographs tell the story.

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Facing the Light

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When it is dark outside and lights are turned on within, I can see the beauty of this stained glass only by standing outside. When I am inside darkened space, I see  breathtaking art because there is sunlight outside.  The color is always there, but I have to stand where I face the light to see it.

 

 

 

 

 

An Old House Story

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Last week Joe and I enjoyed a trip with some friends to hear the history of a plantation house a little over an hour from our home. Dozens of trips to and from College Station when our son was a graduate student there took us on a highway almost at the edge of the acreage where the house is located, but we had never been able to go inside or learn about the important place in Texas History held by Liendo Plantation. The grounds were lovely and shady on a very hot day, peacocks strutted and called, a beautiful herd of Red Brahman cattle grazed beyond the fences, a one-hundred-year-old black walnut tree towered, and a small pergola at the back of the house was covered with wisteria that must have been breathtaking when it bloomed in late Spring. I took some pictures of the massive twisted vines from one side, but Joe found this on the other side.  The tiny birdhouse with a heart shaped hole must have been set there years ago. Through the years, the vines have twisted and turned their way through the house and out the “door.”  No room for birds there anymore. It is a novel picture, but disturbing thought.

What do we allow to grow inside our hearts and homes, filling them so that home is no longer a place of rest, refuge and hospitality? I wonder how long the vines grew before birds could no longer nest there. We have moved almost 2 dozen times in the over 50 years of our marriage and have recently moved again. The houses may change, but as we settle and fill each with faith and love and open doors, it becomes home. I hope to never allow something to grow that pushes the things that belong there away.

 

Burning Layers

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 Sunrise, June 11, 2016

“By means of all created things, without exception, the divine assails us, penetrates us, and molds us. We imagined it as distant and inaccessible, when in fact we live steeped in its burning layers.” ~  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

 

Survive!

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The roses which cover this arbor have a name and a story. The official name is now Peggy Martin. The nickname is “survivor.”  In the middle of our final move away from this garden and home this past week. we had vivid reminders of the origin of this rose. Our area has been covered with the waters of a devastating, history-making flood. The Brazos River crested 2 days ago at a record-breaking 54.81 feet, As water surged from the river, entire neighborhoods were flooded and evacuated  or stranded, roads rendered impassable, fields of crops and cattle inundated, and lives changed forever. There has been so much loss of property and livelihood.

The survivor rose is a symbol of this heartbreaking picture.  In late August 2005, Category 4 Hurricane Katrina created this type of destruction in New Orleans on an even larger scale.Levees were breached, and  85 percent of the city was underwater.  This rose  was the only rose among over 400 antique roses surviving 20 feet of salt water over the garden of Mrs. Peggy Martin, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, Mrs. Martin  lost her parents, her home, and commercial fishing boat in the storm. When she was finally able to return to visit their property she was heartened to see the lush growth of her climbing rose, a testament to its toughness and status as a true survivor.

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Our roses covered an arbor which has provided shade and shelter for children playing, birds nesting, and a place for quiet respite.  This too, reminds me of our present circumstances.  We have witnessed the hospitality and shelter of our community. Our church is a Red Cross shelter, where many evacuees have received a place to stay dry and sleep, meals, and help from many volunteers. Our emergency responders have diligently and consistently worked to rescue, assist, and keep us all informed and protected as much as possible. Many have responded with generosity and caring in a variety of ways.  Neighbors have helped both neighbors and strangers. As Mr. Rogers once said, in trying to help children absorb the impact of tragedies, we can look beyond to the helpers.

I am thankful for the Grace that enables us to be helpers, to offer peace to one another, and that hope remains.

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