A New Leaf

Ponderings in Changing Seasons


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De Colores

I have just a small hankering for color!  Now, don’t you believe that for a moment!  My hankering is for LOTS of COLOR in lots of places.

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Take, for instance, the Spring!  The time after Barrenness.  The time after the Big Chill.  Now if Spring isn’t a time and a place for COLOR, I don’t know when or where is!!

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I’ve been marinating myself in COLOR for nearly a month now.  There was the first spotting of them setting out  flowering annuals at the local grocery.  The Big Box Store, it seemed, burst into bloom at the same instant.

It was marvelous!  One moment, there were drab brick walls and plain sidewalks and fenced gates; the next moment, bright red, vivid yellow and winsome blues were interspersed with tangerine and white and lavender.  Green herbs of all sizes, shapes and scents called invitingly to be chosen for Dishes yet-to-be-created.  For me, Spring had Sprung into action.

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My daily yard walk-arounds have revealed striking changes overnight!  I love to find the first little plant poking its tentative sprout up through the still very cold soil.  Then, as Sun begins to warm the days, more and more sprouts give rise to more and more green shoots reaching for the sky and its golden orb.  The hues conjure up in my mind an Irish mural in a palette of forty shades of green, all which color the landscape of the Emerald Isle.

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Once the red buds and pear trees and lilac bushes, the dogwood ~ pink or white ~ begin to put forth their flowers, it is confirmed.  I know that finally the long, dreary days of Winter have passed.  What seemed forever dead is alive again!

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When I was a young mother with small daughters, my parents went on a three-day cloistered retreat called Cursillo in the Catholic Church or Walk to Emmaus in the Protestant.  They were smitten with the experience, literally meaning “A Little Course in Christ.”  They encouraged both my husband and me to make our own Emmaus Walks, where the Risen Christ is revealed just as He was revealed to His sorrowing Disciples walking along beside Him, unrecognized, going from Jerusalem to Emmaus after His Crucifixion.*  We did go ~ now so long ago.  It was the 1980’s, though I’m told that in 2014, Cursillo and the Emmaus Walks continue.

Many traditions have grown up in this deeply spiritual, highly creative, and eternally impacting weekend with “small lessons” which cover the foundation and doctrines of our Christian Faith.  One of those powerful traditions is the singing, accompanied by guitar, of a song borrowed from the Hispanic culture called De Colores.  Those singing it together are reminded of the colors of the earth, the colors of the rainbow above, the colors refracted in a diamond, and in the birds and the flowers and the roosters and the cluck hens and the baby chicks, the colors all of which summon us to love and to celebrate the many-faceted colors of personality and faces in human-kind.

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When the COLORS burst forth every Spring, I am reminded once again of the expanse of love and acceptance I felt on my Walk.  It is as if that cocoon of 72 hours was not an isolated experience.  Rather, it was a glimpse of True Reality ~ the reality of Eternity and the opportunity we each are given to choose to receive Jesus.  Through Him, we can know we are loved, forgiven, and welcomed by the Father ~ FOREVER!

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De Colores ~ It’s not just a simple folk song!  No, it is a Story of The Father’s Love for ALL of His Creation ~ from the wee little ones to the great big ones, from the flowers of the field to the creatures of the sea to the bird and the butterfly emancipated from gravity to fly free.  The Colors speak of God’s Creative Love and Power.  The Colors, they call me, they woo me to draw ever closer to Him.

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* Luke 24:13-35

 

 

 

 


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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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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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