photograph by Jeremy Parker
When I first saw this photo, I almost missed the tiny, solitary figure of my 11 year old granddaughter standing still to gaze at the beauty of this mountain lake in Nevada. She and her sister hiked here with their Daddy, my son. They fished for trout in the clear cold water. I am thrilled to see that Maddie also stood still and experienced the wonder of tall reaching evergreens, and glistening lake with its ripples and reflections. I like to think about the beauty she experienced here, the sounds and fragrance of the woods. I have seen her Dad stand still and wonder, too. I believe moments like this do come suddenly, as glimpses, when we turn a corner. I am thankful I can experience this with her, prompted by a photo, felt deeply in my heart.
We are all strangers in a strange land, longing for home, but not quite knowing what or where home is. We glimpse it sometimes in our dreams, or as we turn a corner, and suddenly there is a strange, sweet familiarity that vanishes almost as soon as it comes… –Madeleine L’Engle, from The Rock That Is Higher
Last week as I started to step up into my truck to leave and begin a list of errands, I walked by beauty I would surely have missed if I had not stopped to look at a spot on the garage floor. I bent to look closer and was flooded with pleasure at finding this art right there in the middle of an otherwise unattractive canvas. The beveled glass in a side door to the garage was a prism creating a spot of perfect rainbow colors. It was just the right moment of time and light and I stepped unknowingly into that moment. It was a Mary Oliver “pay attention and be astonished” time, however brief.
I believe we miss many of those moments because we are not paying attention and do not expect to find them. Opportunities like this one call me to slow down, stop, and wonder..
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
We thought our one hard freeze killed this young lemon tree. Even mature citrus trees in our area suffered from the well named “killing” frost. The little tree sat, leaves withered and dropping, until all life appeared extinguished. So we found new green growth and budding leaves a happy surprise. Our lemon tree is a story of Spring and Resurrection in its leaving and returning,
Spring sings surprise
white petals hold raindrops
green leaves wait their turn
the turning days begin
reaching into soul search
dark with unknowing
each step on this road
closer to liminal light,
distant dawn of Grace
A journey, a pilgrimage! Yet, as we begin it, as we make the first step into the “bright sadness” of Lent, we see far, far, away – the destination. It is the joy of Easter, it is the entrance into the glory of the Kingdom. ~ Alexander Schmemann