Starting Over

 

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.’

 

November Light

Recently I found this large bald cypress bathed in morning sunlight. Every ferny leaf  seemed to glow. I wanted to capture that luminous image before the light changed. It is a birthday week for me so I have spent time considering what I have learned in these 77 years and ways I want to spend the time ahead.

I am grateful for light and the ways it touches and changes. I thank God each morning for the new light another day brings. I am grateful for being able to see this, grateful for grace to know that as light changes, new ways of finding and seeing it will remain.

 

“Defend me against the chances and changes of this life, not that I may escape them but that I may meet them with firm resolve; not that I may be saved from them but that I may come unscathed through them.

Defend me from discouragement in difficulty and from despair in failure, from pride in success, and from forgetting you in the day of prosperity.

Help me to remember that there is no time when you will fail me and no moment when I do not need you.

Grant me this desire: that guided by your light and defended by your grace, I may come in safety and bring honor to my journey’s end…”    ~ Norman Shawchuck

 

 

 

Winter

deadleafIn South Texas, Winter is often more a word. than a season of bitter cold. But many times a few days after we have celebrated Christmas, Winter makes a sudden, although usually brief,  dramatic appearance screaming “Take me seriously!'”  Citrus and tropical plants on our back porch did not survive our recent episode.  We already talk of replanting, ordering seeds, replacing.  But we also hope, waiting to see what life will come back. I am thankful for comfort and good food and warmth for our family, for good hugs and kind touch.  I am thankful for talks beside the fire.  I am thankful for home.

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand, and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”    ~ Edith Sitwell0

October

chrysanthemum

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.