A New Leaf

Ponderings in Changing Seasons


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Part and Par …sley

Finding myself alone in the Garden on a wintry Fall-ish day, I see what’s left to be plucked before true Winter sets herself firmly on its lap.  A few fallen tomatoes I glean for one last Skillet of Summer – Fried Green – tart and tangy to speak of sun and simplicity.

My eye spies the still brazen green in this Season of Reds – Oranges – Yellows – and Browns.  I bend over to cut off the curls, bouquets of curls.  Fragrance wafts with each cut.  Bare stem tops are left to brace against the cold.

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Division – Separation – Death – A Parting:  that’s what Autumn in all her glory forebodes.  Yet these flavor- filled, sweet, piquant leaves foretell another story: Spring.  Life.

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This plant grown from a minuscule seed has two lives.  It will return to life.  Next Spring.  Before the incessant heat of mid-Summer causes it to bolt ~ as if it wants to sprout feet and run for cover.  It is no longer palatable.  Albeit, miraculously, in the Bolt will be the seed of yet another double life.  Chopping these leaves into small memories, my salivary glands doing overtime, I anticipate the enhancement of color and of taste that will adorn many a winter dish from cheese ball to casserole to soup .

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It takes effort.  It takes planning and preparation.  It takes being ever the learner to enjoy the fruit of the Earth.

We are His Fruit in this Earth.

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Orange … and Black … in this week for such.  Orange everywhere we looked. Flowers.  Bright shirts, skirts, ribbons and bands.  She is gone.  Her favorite color: ORANGE!  Honor her, remember her with ORANGE.  Black is for death.  Orange speaks of a life briefly spoken – just 18 years, an Artist – Fruit of God, Child of God.

She, too, has double the Life.  Her heart given years before to the One who offers Joy beyond the grave.  This hope of Eternity beats heavily in many of the hearts gathered.  But not all.  For others, grieving brings mental confusion, futility, groanings to deep for words, with NO hope.

The message of comfort likens our lives to a boomerang.  God sends us out with intention:  the expectation that we will return to Him.  We are not created like a stick.  It would fall and simply lie there.  Rather, His Word speaks Truth, “from dust to dust” – this earthen sod.

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Then He illumines Life – the GREEN – Life-breathed Words of Hope, of Promise:  I AM the Way, the Truth, the Life.  No one comes to the Father but by Me.  And, “I AM come that you might have Life ~ and Life MORE ABUNDANTLY!” **

We, unlike the boomerang, have a mind, a will, and emotions.  We get to choose.  We can choose to pet and pamper ourselves, besetting our weaknesses and vulnerabilities while “doing it /living it/ our way”.  Or, we can choose Him – follow His “Growing Instructions” – and our double life, our eternal life, will be verdant, fragrant, abundant beyond measure.

My Garden teaches me always some snippet of His Truth.  He has a specific plan and purpose for my life, my double life.   A diminutive Self-Portrait this Parsley is:  a parcel of Creator God.
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** John 13:6; John 10:10


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“Good-Bye, Summer”: An Open Letter

Good-bye, Bright Sunny Days on a string.  Good-bye HEAT.  Good-bye, sweat beads.

Good-bye, Songs of the Bird and Wind in the Flowers.
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Good-bye, blueberries and blackberries and green beans and green peppers and yellow squash and ripe, red tomatoes – all right off the vine.

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Driving home from church just last night, we had snow – white October snow!  Yes, Summer, you left, you went South, headed for new territory.  You will brighten someone else’s life now, but not here, not ours.

Go ahead, be gone now.  We’ll make a new friend of Fall.  She can be warm, too.

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Pumpkins and Such

Pumpkins and gourds, acorns and acorn squash and funny other squashes now brighten the country Market Stands.  Mums the word for the flowers of this Season.  Crisp mornings, crisp apples, crunch-y footsteps in the woods make hot cider and hot chocolate all the more appealing.  Scents of Fall waft from our ovens and from our cups.  Blazing trees compete with blazing fireplaces for our affection.

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We’ll wait for your return while we hibernate in coats and hats and mittens.  Without you, Summer, scarves will be our badge of color for this Season and the White Season of Winter.

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Please, Summer, don’t stay away too long.  Didn’t really mean that:  telling you to go on now, be gone, dismissing you, like you don’t matter.  You do.  You left us your harvest; it will carry us through the long, dark days ahead.  Your memories give us Hope with a Promise.  Spring is your Harbinger.  Send her early.  So, you can come back to us to lighten and lengthen our days.  We will wait for you.

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Yours truly,

A Lover of the Light


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A Tisket, A Tasket …

A BASKET! 

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Ever consider how to organize your stationery, having everything together?  Or, collecting your socks so you can find the color and texture that fits the day?  How about storing your toilet paper so that fresh roll is reachable?  When Life seems to be out of control, try using a basket!

Keep your change .. and FIND your CHANGE .. in a BASKET!

How many times does a basket of some sort or other catch your eye and your fingers when you’re shopping or just browsing?  Baskets are intriguing:  they may be simple or complex.  Some even multi-task with several compartments for holding and separating.

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In Seasonal changeovers we find that practice from early childhood ~ collecting like things together ~ a valued skill.  A BASKET is often just the thing.  When removing or bringing in new collections of things, putting them in a basket will help the transition.  Usefully, these weavings vary in size and substance.  They may be wood or wicker, plastic or metal.

You may want a basket for the look or for the function or both.  You may use it for temporary or for permanent.

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Look around you right now.  How many do you have in use in your study, your kitchen, your abode?  How many of these woven wonders do you own?

There is a problem with baskets:  When you want one, it has to be of the right size, shape and strength for the purpose.  So, if you are into baskets, you have to heap up your baskets.  That creates a problem in itself:  the storage of all those baskets!  Enter the ubiquitous plastic containers!  These in essence are modernized baskets.  They serve similar function but lack the BEAUTY of a crafted basket.  For some, pegs serve both to show off basket waiting to be filled and to keep them at the ready.  Whether out of sight or out in the open, the problem warrants the solution.

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The Autumn Season calls for baskets.  Bringing in the harvest calls for baskets.  Decorating our homes calls for baskets.

Even Childhood calls for baskets.  Image

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Reflection on the simple and the familiar brings welcome respite for my soul.  With BEAUTY woven in, I am stirred let go of the tasks yet-to-do and embrace the moment.  Although I may meet that moment with a sigh, I am learning to hug these moments with child-like exuberance.  Maybe you, too, feel a stirring to let go and hug this present moment in the basket of your Heart.  Only your Heart can tell you what to let go and what to hold.

See them, your BASKETS:  Empty or full ~ these little and these large ~ let them serve you.  May a new appreciation for the ministrations of THE SIMPLE BASKET be instilled in you.  May you find yourself all at once stilled.

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Musings in the Mundane: New Season Changeovers

The time is at hand.

The nights are turning chilly which lingers till mid-morning.  Thin, cotton clothes breathe, but breathing clothes are not comfy now.  The brisk breeze has a bit of a cut to it.  Shorts and shorted sleeves, capris and sandals are no longer desirable in these mid-October days.

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This mundane task is one I most dread.  I procrastinate.  I try to make do with the few cozier items I kept handy for those just-in-case occasions in Summer.  It is not working:  neither my procrastination nor my creative gap-filling.

My mind slips into fantasy.  I imagine having many closets, closets roomy and plush, enough for each Season to have its own closet.  While I’m playing pretend in the castles of my mind, I add in a maid, no, several to organize:  to deal with cast-offs, to find just the spot for the new, and to manage all the washing and drying that goes with putting away this Season just passed.

And the children?  My mind skips back to the days when I had not just one, not just two, but three changeovers to do … GIRL-CLOTHES changeovers!  I recall the even  deeper dread then of the task of seeing what fits whom, who likes what, and what would get a roll of the eyes, “Too old, Mom!”  “Not sweet, Mom!”  “Drab!!” How many other women are feeling suffocated about now, knowing that this vital task must be done and it must be done soon?  What moms are losing precious hours of sleep because ~ well, there simply are not enough hours to get it all done, so sleep is sacrificed.  This job that rolls around every six months or so is an add-on, like something that comes upon us unexpected.  It is hard to find the time.

Then there are the containers.  Always it seems this task of changing over involves one shopping trip, maybe more, to gather or replace those that hold this coming Season’s goods.  Nothing lasts forever ~ not clothes or shoes or the things that hold them ~ nor the Ones they hold.

My mind turn philosophical.  I ponder the changing of Seasons in these six-month increments.  Is it really nearly Christmas again?  The stores say it is!  What a dichotomy in our materialistic society:  Halloween when ghouls and goblins and all manner of evil creatures are mimicked for “fun” is just one aisle away from Christmas trees and wrappings and trappings of the Holy Season.  Only six weeks until Thanksgiving?  And just ten weeks until Christmas?  I want to yell, “Stop! Wait!”  Fall is my favorite Season.  I want to hold onto it awhile before it, too, slips away.

I haven’t walked the crunchy leaves yet.  I barely have Fall decorations on the mantel and round about our home.  Relishing the skies of Fall has been such a brief enjoyment.  No hot cider or warm, crackling fires in the fireplace yet.  It is too soon to speak of these Celebrations yet to come.  I want to rest here awhile in the glory of the impassioned trees!

Gradually, I sense my heart turning as I begin this task which now seems perhaps not-so-mundane.  I ponder my privilege to care for these threads because I actually DO live in a castle compared to most of the world.  I actually DO have more closets and space to live than even many here in the urb I call “Home.”  Now, more intentionally, I turn my heart to focus on the Giver and the Gift of my privileged estate in this world. As I set my mind to task, I set my mind on how my overabundance might be turned into gifts for others.  My mind is changed over to His Mind.  This Seasonal chore is becoming a blessed opportunity.

First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,

rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.

She senses the worth of her work,

is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.

She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,

diligent in homemaking.

She’s quick to assist anyone in need,

reaches out to help the poor.

She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows;

their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.

Proverbs 31:17-21 (The Message)


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Water Wonders

Annie knew it!  She knew the mystery could call forth understanding in this Wild Child in her charge!  The wetness, the coolness, the texture and flow could unlock the mind.

W ~~~ A ~~~~~ T ~~~~~~~ E ~~~~~~~~~ R

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Wild Child was not Dumb.  She had a hindrance:  she was Blind … Deaf and Mute.

This substance that Annie found to break open her soul was there from the creation of the world.  It is a mighty force that moves mountains, gouging them with the chisel of gravity, flowing always lower, lower.  And when it arrives at the lowest place, it stretches out, as if to say, “This is my bed.  I can rest here.”  Without effort, it offers refreshment, re-creation, sustenance for life in and along its boundaries of wet and dry.  A tiny seed immersed in its goodness will bring forth NEW LIFE.

Jesus knew.  He created from water new wine.  In the face of His alarmed disciples, He calmed the riled up, piled up waters vexed by the wind..  He found natural amphitheaters by the shores of waters familiar to those whose feet trod the dry and dusty roads.  To the lonely, shamed woman come to draw water from the well apart from others and in the midday heat, He proclaimed, “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again.”

They had a hinderance.  I have a hindrance.  It consumes me.  It blinds me to myself.     I need the flow, the cleansing of His Word washing me daily.  At times I am deaf to the glorious sounds of His Love, His Voice which the Psalmist describes as being like thunderous waters.  At other times, I am mute.  I am all clogged up, pressure building, ready to explode like a geyser.

I want to be blinded by His Glory, feel in my body the earth tremble with His Power, hear the Trumpet Sound of His Voice.  I want to sing and shout praises unto Him, no longer mute.  The only way out of myself is in to Him.  Flow, Sweet Jesus, to the lowest point of myself that I might be filled to overflowing with Your Grace.  Flow out of me into other hearts blind, deaf, mute.  Use these words You give us with pen in hand or fingers on keyboards to touch, to grace, to cleanse, to heal by Your Living Water.  In Your Life-giving, Life-changing Name Jesus. Amen.


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Cobwebs All About

I am a creature of habit ~ sometimes …  and sometimes ~ NOT!  It shows up everywhere now.  Odd how Nature has this way of showing me up!  I see it nestled in the corner by the dresser.  Oh, and there again from the photo of the grandchildren on the marble-top all the way down the side [cringe]!  Another one I see in the fading afternoon light, now clear across where the cupboard joins the floor. I pull a book from the shelf and there’s another!  Chagrined, I turn away.  There’s even one hanging from the ceiling!  Awful, that’s what it is.  These signs everywhere shouting, “NEGLECT!”  They pester me daily … now here, now another there.

But, you see, I have this other commitment: one I’ve made in my heart, to use the Gift Within to touch Beauty and evoke Wonderment.  I committed to thirty-one days, YES!  Counting them ~ DAILY!  I will put words out, I will draw them up from the deep and expose them to the light, to other eyes and hearts. I may not neglect these words in me any longer!  But, I am exposed, as well.

These COBWEBS!

They are all about, growing, spreading across the inside and the outside of this place we call “Home”!  Awed by their persistence and their tenacity, I look beyond for the gift these cobwebs bring.  Could there really be something of value, some guiding lesson, in such a mundane manifestation of neglect? The Tutorial of the Cobwebs?

Neglect is not an unfamiliar dynamic in my life.  I am driven toward many things, all clustered topsy-turvy in my mind.  I’ll write that letter, send this note, take them some flowers from my yard; I’ll offer to bring soup, I’ll wash that dusty bauble, long avoided, to make it shine again.  I will make a list.  I will call her.  I will hunt for what’s lost not just treasure what’s found.  And I will read forty pages every day.  I will delete twenty emails a day.  I will dwell more consistently, more fully in God’s Word.  I will, I will, I will ….  What is it people say about honorable intentions?

But there are these COBWEBS, don’t you know?  Do you know? They crowd into my mind, they wrap themselves around my thoughts.  They muddle my way.

I do see it now, this lesson of life.  Neglect is subtle; it creeps in gradually, like the morning fog.  It grows exponentially, sending its gnarled fingers into ever-increasing areas of life.  And NEGLECT has a sister named APATHY.

Pulling out the broom and grabbing a dust cloth, I determine anew my quest to be  vigilant, to care.  As I rid each visible cobweb, I also stab the invisible enemy of my soul who tempts me to justify neglect.  I cannot, I will not neglect clearing out cobwebs of distraction, confusion and lethargy.  I will not neglect the Gift in me to weave words into a tapestry for the mind,


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When Friends Depart … another poignant sign

After the blooms are in, the red million bells, the orange geraniums, they come:  these creatures of habit as long entrenched as the dawn.  They come on wings of dawn in April and May.  The breaking Light reveals their tiny jeweled substance hovering above the rouge, above the nectar that sustains.

Amazing creatures these.  They eat about seven times an hour, lapping the nectar through their long forked tongues as much as thirteen times a second for as long as 60 seconds in a feeding.  Visiting up to 1000 flowers and feeders daily, they consume what for us humans would be 155,00 calories in syrup, sap and soft bugs.  How else could they energize their rapid breathing and heart rate, maintain their high body temperature and nourish the largest brain relative to body weight of any in its phylum?

Yet, most unique is what we humans see as these tiny iridescents flit from delight to delectable.  Hovering in midair, their tiny wings beat back the air, turning 360 degrees rotating both backwards and frontwards.  At eighty beats per second these gossamer wings fan taking them backwards, shifting their miniature bodies to the side or trajecting them straight up or straight down.  When in forward wing, they are propelled as fast as 60 miles in one hour.

Walking is not an option for these tiny birds.  They can perch, but not hop on their feet.  They build such minuscule nests that it takes a trained eye to discern them, camouflaged to look like a tree knot with lichen, moss and leaf hairs glued together with spider web.  Their white eggs are smaller than a dime, their spider-webbed nests expand with their growing young to a bit larger than a three-dimensional quarter.

Feisty as these little creatures are, they whirl away with vengeance toward at any competitor, large, small, of the same genus or not, wanting to keep the sweets all to themselves.  In their three to five years of life, they will make only a few migratory trips south and north again.  The instinct to GO tells them to double their weight before departing.  There is a consequent buzz about the feeders and flowers as they prepare for their long journey.

My heart stirs with melancholy as I hear their familiar musical drone increase in frequency.  I long to go with them, to see what they see, to share in the journey.  But, I am earthbound.  I cannot fly.

And then they are gone.  I am forlorn.  When these little harbingers of Spring and Summer depart, it is yet another poignant signal of the Shifting of Seasons.  Winter lies on the horizon.  I, too, prepare.

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