fern frond lights a shady corner.
morning ,afternoon and evening light moves across the garden
illuminated book of hours
“Solvitur ambulando – It is solved by walking
— often attributed to St. Augustine
Walking is something I am doing very differently for the present. I am entering my fifth week of either non or partial weight bearing for one side, and have as many weeks to go plus months ahead for therapy. I am thankful repair was possible, for good medical direction, and help from my husband, our family and friends.. I am learning or choosing different ways to be and do. Since walking the labyrinth in our church’s prayer garden is not an option for me , I can use this finger labyrinth given to me by a good friend.
Today I realized that since we have had so many days of cold, rainy weather, I most likely would not have been out there in the prayer garden with my umbrella anyway, and I smiled. As I trace my finger along the spirals into the center of this little pewter labyrinth I can pause to look out at my own garden and be grateful for all the different ways open to us to recognize God’s presence. I put my thoughts if not my feet on this path inward, then outward,
” Not everything, of course, is solved by walking. But a good deal is. And if it isn’t solved, it is reorganized, refreshed, or revitalized so that new responses are possible. Walking changes perspective. It offers a path that moves us forward, literally and figuratively.”
Carolyn Scott Kortge, author of Healing Walks for Hard Times, and The Spirited Walker
Still our prayer, for 2015…
For the New Year 1981
I have a small grain of hope–
one small crystal that gleams
clear colors out of transparency.
I need more.
I break off a fragment
to send you.
this grain of a grain of hope
so that mine won’t shrink.
Please share your fragment
so that yours will grow.
Only so, by division,
will hope increase,
like a clump of irises, which will cease to flower
unless you distribute
the clustered roots, unlikely source–
clumsy and earth-covered–
Our entire Satsuma harvest – but the tree is very small.
As we move toward the end of November, our garden is a reminder of things that can be counted on: Gulf Coast Muhly fronds mound up like pink froth. Satsumas are ready for harvest, Meyer lemons are hanging ready on the tree, the last of our okra and tender herbs fade as the first frost comes. Marigolds, chrysanthemums and calendula bloom gold and copper. Thanksgiving is less than a week away. We will gather friends and family and favorite foods at full tables.
I am remembering childhood meals around my Terrell grandparent’s table in Smith County, Texas. There were hearty breakfasts with farm fresh eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy, dinners (at lunchtime) that often included peas and tomatoes from their garden and an iron skillet of cornbread cut into wedges.There were suppers, often the same food reheated or a bowl of soup, and Sunday dinners after church. There were holiday meals at Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas where the table and kitchen were both filled with chicken and dressing or a ham, plus those garden fresh vegetables which had been put up into canning jars. To follow, there would be an assortment of sweets – cookies, sweet potato, pecan, and mince pies, and often a pound cake. The food and occasion might vary, but there was always the same beginning: This, too, was something I could count on. Papa Terrell would say grace. Today we may say a blessing or give thanks, but he always said grace. The words were always the same, and rattled off so quickly I could never understand them. But his posture spoke to my heart with no need for words. Over 70 years later, now I see him clearly in my mind: gray head bent forward and bowed in humility.
“We offer grace at table as a form of waiting with confidence…reciting such a prayer is sometimes referred to as a way of preparing to receive all that has been granted to us. We offer grace in amazement that even the good things we have rejected are being offered again. And then we eat, and the food meets an earthly need of our souls, and we are made whole.” – Cynthia Rigby, W.C. Brown Professor of Theology, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary*
For me, the calendar days designated to Thanksgiving are a wonderful approach to beginning of Advent exactly because of this waiting with confidence…preparing to receive all that has been granted to us. Our family will gather once again around the old oak table, the very same one that Grandma loaded with food and where Papa said grace.
Pink Gulf Coast Muhly, a coastal grass
*as quoted by Wayne Slater in DallasNews, a Texas Faith Blog
I sit very still and silent on this early Advent morning as light enters for a new day, casting shadow art on the wall that shifts and changes like rippling water – for me an illustration of the intersection of art and faith. I think of the ways God lets us know He is with us.
“In the small, silent places within us is another voice, one that beckons us into the foolishness of faith, that points our gaze to the birds and the flowers, that, in unguarded moments lets our muscles relax, and our hearts lean into loved ones, in unexpected whispers we hear it, calling us to remember your promises, your grace, your faithfulness, and suddenly, we discover that it is enough. Amen” John Van De Laar
Today is my birthday, and I almost missed one of my gifts! While I was thinking about how many sunsets and sunrises I have been gifted in 73 years, I almost failed to go outside and witness the blaze of glory that is today’s sunset. We do that, don’t we? We busy ourselves with good thoughts and activity and miss the glory of what is happening right this minute. I am thankful for every day and every blessing I have been given. But I want to practice being present in the moment that will pass forever if I don’t (in Mary Oliver’s words) pay attention, be astonished and tell about it. Today’s sunset will be remembered, but the gift it has given me is more than its beauty. Help me, Lord, to celebrate the now.
That time of year thou mayst in me behold When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang. In me thou see'st the twilight of such day As after sunset fadeth in the west; .... This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong, To love that well which thou must leave ere long.