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...

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