Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!

What a difference eighteen hours makes! No wonder it's called the "Theatre of Seasons."
Hope the sun is shining where you are.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I'm not ready for this!

I am amazed at how quickly time passes. Is it really time to start thinking about Thanksgiving and (gasp!) Christmas? No way, I'm not ready. But if you look out my window, you'd see that everything is jumbled up, confused. The corn stands in the field, proud and tall; the precious ears, ripe with kernels and ready, point down to the earth, not up to the sun like they did a few weeks ago. And today, the stalks are frosted with snow, but not because the farmer is late or lazy.

We haven't raked leaves yet because most of them are still on the trees. The hose is still in the garden. Leaves on the black walnut tree are still green but they're wilted and sick looking. Branches sport leaves and snow. The birdbath has a layer if ice across the top. Snow is falling, heavy and wet. Six months from now, you'd say it was an April Fool's joke, but today...

What's going on? "The last shall be first and the first shall be last?" Not quite. "For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert..." This is snow not water. How about "Praise the Lord from the and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command..." That's nice...but then there's "He gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes. He hurls down hail like crumbs--who can stand before his cold?" That's right: Cold!

Yes, indeed, I am complaining. Not ready for winter, haven't enjoyed fall yet. The turtle necks have not yet replaced the t-shirts in my dresser. The windows haven't been washed yet; the garden still needs to be put to bed.

But, then, there is soup on the stove and bread baking. Candles seem to warm the house a bit. It's dark early enough that I can ignore the dust and the carpet that needs vacuuming. Good news (we think) from the business; Eddie's Wake is selling and people seem to like it.

I think that's called grace. No, more like grace upon grace.

Peace be with you...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Summer Glories

From a piece I wrote for the Pastors' Column in a local newspaper yesterday, which helped me remember how much I love to write. Gotta get started on the next novel!

All summer, I babied my Morning Glory vines along, hoping they would put out those beautiful blue blooms just like the picture on the seed package. In June they sprouted, in July they spread all over the trellises, but there were no flowers. The green vines looked nice, but something was missing.

So I read up on Morning Glories, discovering that they like soil that is poor and dry. I’d had no luck with nasturtiums in that same spot last summer, maybe the soil was too rich, even though it’s mostly sand and I didn’t add any fertilizer. Maybe they were getting too wet when I watered the rest of the garden. Maybe, it was just too cool for most of the summer. I decided to make a mental note that Morning Glories are just one more flower that won’t bloom in that spot. Next year, I’ll try something else.

I had to go out of town for a period of time, and forgot all about my disappointment with the Morning Glories. When I returned in the middle of August, there were a few flowers on each vine. They were such a gorgeous shade of blue that I grabbed my camera and took some pictures, just to prove that they actually flowered. As the weeks passed, and Labor Day came and went and we went deeper into September, much to my delight, the vines erupted with dozens and dozens of new blooms. By evening, the flowers would be pulled back and shriveled, but when the sun came up again, new flowers would be there to greet the day. Except for planting the seeds, I did nothing to make this happen. It was all God’s miracle of creation.

Now here we are at the beginning of October and we’ve had frost warnings two nights in a row. There was no way to cover all those vines, so I hoped they’d survive just for a few more days, maybe even a few weeks. On the morning after the first frost, the flowers bloomed, but when I went to check on them, their edges were purple and curling inward already. As I write this, the plants are still valiantly making flowers, but the wind and rain and cold make them wither and fade well before noon.

Every fall I am reminded of what the Prophet Isaiah says. The grass withers, the flowers fade; but the word of our God will stand forever. As we move into the darkest time of the year, when no grass grows and all flowers have withered, when we burn candles to ward off the edge of night, this verse sustains me. Isaiah also says surely the people are grass, and so we are, mortal and fragile, not only in our bodies, but in our spirits as well. But God, Creator of all, sent the Word, Jesus to save us from all that. No matter how we bloom and fade and watch our loved ones bloom and fade, the Word of God stands forever, steady, constant and always with us.

May God’s peace be with you

P.S. It was so windy overnight that the trellis holding the biggest M.G. plant blew over. Bye, bye, blue...