summer heat withers most flowers
defiant, these Old Maids stand proudly
strong of stalk and bold of color
still telling the stories of my childhood
urging me to stay strong and bloom
I rarely cross post in the three blogs I maintain. They seem very separate in theme and topic most of the time. But occasionally I write something which could easily fit interchangeably. I found this in my family story blog recently and offer it again here.
Originally posted in http://www.mappingsforthismorning.blogspot.com on July 22, 1917, about a year ago.
I do not often enter threads of conversation like this, but this one so intrigued me as I read some of the comments that I quickly typed in one of my own, without considering more than a few seconds.
So many…birthing 3 sons! Sitting in front of a peat fire in Ireland with a cat in my lap while the innkeeper told ghost stories, watching butterfly caterpillars munch on dill with my 3 yr granddaughter this morning.
among our vegetables nestle shining yellow jewels
scalloped, frilled, filled with goodness
making us laugh because they are named Pattypans
Among the most unusual of our garden produce, pattypans squash are beautiful and delightful to gather. The name “pattypan” derives from “a pan for baking a patty”. Its French name, pâtisson, derives from a Provençal word for a cake made in a scalloped mould. I love knowing that my grandchildren help to grow and pick foods for our table. When we sit down for a meal, Nora sings the table blessing she learned at school called the Johnny Appleseed prayer.
Oh, the Lord is good to me, and so I thank the Lord
for giving me the things I need – the sun and the rain and the appleseed
The Lord is good to me. Amen!
There are countless things that bring my observance of Lent and the daily changes in our garden into side by side meaning for me – changing my heart in the simple practice of being open to wonder. We planted this small Red Baron peach tree less than a year ago. Flooding in our back yard from a hurricane and unusually long hours of severe freezing temperatures during wintertime appeared to defeat the young fruit tree. It stood, a forlorn stick we thought had not pulled through the trials it faced with roots so newly sunk into our soil. Then came a day when leaf buds tentatively swelled and one small blossom appeared as if dropped onto a twig of a branch, followed by 3 more. I see that small wonder every time I look out the windows near my desk. This morning I read excerpts from a book by Georges Bernanos, The Diary of a Country Priest.. Good words that settled and helped me. The tiny peach tree tells the story too.
“Lent reminds us…conversion is a lifelong process…We never stop starting over.
I fall down. I get up.
Keep marching to the end. Don’t shed your equipment. Keep starting over..”
And when the country priest (who had started over many times in his life) lay dying, he said, “Does it matter? Grace is everywhere.’
Today, almost 4 weeks later, Nora holds her growing leaves close and says she loves them. Their blooms should be ready to grace our Christmas dinner table!
She loves her baby brother even more! Oliver has many adoring arms to reach for him. He has grown too, a much more amazing miracle than the paperwhites. It has been fun to watch growth and blooming. Tending the blooms and the baby has given particular grace and meaning to these days of Advent, to my reflections of another baby and the way He changed the world.
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.