bright in this dark spot
on evening’s path,
I find a star.
tomorrow the glow will fade,
breath and wish will blow it away
but for this moment
it is my gift of light
rustic arbor of arching branches
twisted in patterns of Gothic lace
inviting me to look beyond
When we were little girls, my sister and I played under our raised back porch, shaded by two magnificent hydrangea bushes. The huge leaves and blooms were part of our tea parties. At times the leaves were the plates and blossoms separated into dainty cookies and cakes. Other times the same leaves and flowers became bridal bouquets or fancy hats. I was amazed when I learned the colors of the blooms can be changed by what is added to the soil. Only pink and bkue blooms can be influenced. White blooms never change! I am thankful everyday for the beauty of God’s creation, and that He gives the same gift of these blooms over and over. I am reassured that the lovely white hydrangea blooms like the ones on my kitchen table are not going to change. Everytime I look at them I smile and think, “Again!”
Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that he has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.
Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves! ~Humbert Wolfe
October in South Texas brings welcome change, but not only from summer heat. The mornings this week have been cool, heavy mist rises from the lake, sunrise is coming later, and pecans are falling from the trees. There are only slight changes in the green of the woods, but the thing I notice first is the way the light changes. It sifts through leaves and falls more softly, dappling and dancing. Chrysanthemums and marigolds color faded flower beds like mini sunsets.
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.
We are happy every year when the magnolia tree in our yard begins adding little upright buds that look like candles on an old-fashioned Christmas tree. The smooth, straight stick figures that hide tightly furled promise were described by poet Wallace Stevens as “ghosts of its forthcoming flowers” They look fragile as if bird or breeze could tip them over and onto the ground.
So after flooding rains and wind that snapped some trees, we welcomed the unfolding of huge ivory blooms. Joe brought one to me as I sat on the porch swing this morning. Its fragrance and beauty bring both tears and smiles. The magnolia is one of my earliest childhood memories. Like pine boughs and gardenias, even if I close my eyes, the fragrance brings a surge of memory and story.
“Like the magnolia tree,
She bends with the wind,
Trials and tribulation may weather her,
Yet, after the storm her beauty blooms,
See her standing there, like steel,
With her roots forever buried,
Deep in her Southern soil.”― Nancy B. Brewer, Letters from Lizzie
If the saying “April showers bring May flowers” were born out next month, we would be covered in blooms. On Monday this week, rains came and camped out over many parts of Texas, creating historic event flooding in Houston and several surrounding counties. There have been tragic deaths, and thousands of people are displaced. Although the rain has stopped, flooding continues as rivers and bayous rage out of their banks flooding homes and pastureland.
Our garden welcomes us once more with cool breeze, shade, birdsong, and flowers blooming. Joe brought in a gardenia that I could smell when he opened the door. I am grateful for this peace and beauty but sad for loss for so many.
Prayer for Those Affected by the Floods
God of compassion,
You created a world for us
To know your love and peace
Yet amidst the beauty of creation
We encounter pain and hurt
And forces beyond our control.
At times like this our hearts are shaken and ache with sorrow
At the destruction of our lives, homes and livelihoods.
Hear our prayers for those affected by the floods
And for all those working
To bring relief and fresh hope.
from the Toowoomba Diocese in Queenslnd following a devastating flood in 2011