Blessing of Light

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They can be like a sun, words.

They can do for the heart

what light can for a field.

-St. John of the Cross, Love Poems from God (trans. Daniel Ladinsky)

This weather worn garden sign is propped on the fence behind my cucumber vines.  When I gathered my small harvest, I thought of these words.  The blessing of light, along with soil and moisture produced something good and nourishing.  The word Peace reminds me that my words have that potential when I use them to bless and encourage.

Sadly, the opposite can also be true.  Words spoken in haste or frustration may damage growth and wither relationship. I can choose to speak light and blessing.  I pray to speak Peace.

I Have This Day

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Celebrate Now 

I have long thought Hibiscus flowers exotic and lovely. They remind me of Bali, where we often visited when we lived in Indonesia.  Outside the little thatched roof lodging at Poppie’s Cottages where we sometimes stayed, large shrubs of the plant were always in bloom.  Once I sat outside on the tiny porch where they left our kopi and mango breakfast and painted one of the flowers.  I remember searching for a scarlet or vermillion paint that would allow me to capture the intensity of its color.  Now I mostly photograph the hibiscus that grow in our garden.  They help me remember to celebrate today – because today is all each flower has.  Whether I enjoy the bloom as it grows with large glossy leaves, or pluck it to bring inside to grace our kitchen table, it only lasts one day.  Putting its stem into water does not prolong the beauty.  By the next morning, this flower’s petals folded shut.  

Awareness

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“Do not look back in anger, or forward in fear, but around in awareness.” ~ James Thurber

fish flashing in lavender shadow

lily lifting  purple wonder

prayers unfurling

hope

Questions and Answers

We are hearing so many stories of tragedy and trauma, of danger and despair.  Some of the horror is magnified by the immediacy with which we now receive the news.  Social media and news reporting brings word and image straight into our homes and hearts from the real-time scene.  “Breaking news” threatens to break us. For some of us, the pain is present in our immediate and extended families  Is there anything we can reply to disillusionment and despair? To the erosion of hope?  To fear?  What does the intersection of faith and art (which this blog addresses) offer in response to this reality? How is our energy best spent in helping each other?

Howard Thurman offers this:  “The mass attack of disillusionment and despair, distilled out of the collapse of hope, has so invaded our thoughts that what we know to be true and valid seems unreal and ephemeral. There seems to be little energy left for aught but futility. This is the great deception…To drink in the beauty that is within reach, to clothe one’s life with simple deeds of kindness, to keep alive a sensitiveness to the movement of the spirit of God in the quietness of the human heart and in the workings of the human mind – this is as always the ultimate answer to the great deception.”

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roots reaching past drought

pushing up through rocky path

surviving In sun or shadow,

blooming with perennial grace

alive

map 6-14-2013

Alive Again

024The patch of wood fern under our Meyer lemon tree never completely dies back in a mild winter like last year’s season.  Even so, brown scraggly branches and twiggy stems look untidy and we need to cut it down.  That part of the garden looks bald and bereft for awhile, but without fail, fresh fronds begin to push their way up and begin unfurling.  I sometimes wish I could do time lapse photography to capture this annual rebirth.  Suddenly, what seemed hopelessly ugly last week blooms green!

 

Alive Again

pushing through darkness, reaching for light

fronds a dozen shades of green

unroll like little scrolls

what does it feel like to leaf out?

Unencumbered

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Pruning is one of my most difficult tasks, inside and out. But just look how the roses can bloom when rid of all their excess branches and runners!

 Unencumbered

“We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time: How much is enough?”

~Wendell Berry

I must let go of things that weigh me down

I must free myself of cumber

I must pare down, lighten my load

I must go through with this relinquishment.

I must rid myself of too much, too many.

I am called to marvel at quotidian mysteries

to be attentive and astonished

to cultivate inner and outer space

to create time for what matters most

to simplify

Centering

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Receive each day as 
a resurrection from death, 
as a new enjoyment of life.
[William Law]

I do not skip down a Lenten path singing

my steps are slow, measured

intentional

a labyrinth path reminding

each day

take one step, then another

on toward center

and Song

Finding Beauty

LastofFeb 026“if you ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it,

But if you invest in beauty,

it will remain with you

all the days of your life.”

~ Frank Lloyd Wright

100_1612Remembering the planting and sprouting

watching for beauty of weed and flower

cool dark hours bring both

LastofFeb 045To be still

to be astonished

to see beauty in a cabbage

before it goes into the soup