the petals on the ground

on this first day of spring
I remember vividly another beautiful spring day
walking beneath the towering cherry blossom trees
dressed up in their pink finery
so full that they blocked out most of the sky
that was a brilliant blue with only
a few of the fluffiest clouds

I held the hand of the girl who walked
and he carried on his shoulders
the girl who was quite new
in six short months she’d filled our hearts with joy
and our lives with stories

these two girls who were and are my world

the little one looked up at the blooms above her and laughed
that deep gurgly laugh of the very small ones
and to this day I wonder
if that is why she so loves the pink

this one born in the land of the rising sun
all those years ago
as she rode on her Daddy’s shoulders
smiling down at the one whose hand I held

and our feet landed on the petals on the ground
as step by step we made our way to this spring day
half a world away

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By THOR (Cherry Blossom) [CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons]

pollen painting

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the rain came and washed away the pollen

or so we thought

until the wind nudged the leaves along the sidewalk a bit

disturbing them in their slumber where the rough storm had left them be

 

and there underneath was the brightest yellow

where all had collected and gathered

protected

beneath the leaves

as the storm passed

and the day began

 

a perfect painting of what once was

and would not be again

 

 

 

 

In Honor of DST

In honor of Daylight Savings Time, my feet not being cold because of this beautiful spring weather, and the headache I have for the same reason (spring = pollen in Georgia), tonight I leave you with the beauty that lifted my heart today.

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The tea olive just outside the door.  Heaven SCENT.  I do hope heaven smells just like this.  Makes me think of my Daddy who loved them too, every single time.  

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This time of year I start driving by peach orchards…..that aren’t on the way home.  They always seem to feel like home.  

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Look at her, all dolled up and ready to go!  I love a pruned peach tree more than a lot of things in this world.  She takes me back.  My favorite vision in spring…..

So my black vehicle might be green from the coat of pollen on it (and no, I’m not going to wash it off, it’ll just be green again tomorrow–my plan is to wait it out) and my head might hurt from allergies, but I was able to get a walk in with warm toes and sunshine AFTER we got home from our day to dailies this evening.  It’s finally that time of year that I don’t feel quite so rushed because the darkness doesn’t seem to be peeking from around the corner, ready to pounce just when I get going good.

May nature’s beauty reach out and grab you in a joyful dance today!

Love to all.

A Masterpiece in Gold

Today I had an appointment in Macon, and I found myself driving down one of the old streets there a little ways from the downtown area.  As I looked down the street towards my destination, the sight before me took my breath away.

Ginkgo trees in all their golden glory lined both sides of the street.

Beautiful.

I remember the words my pastorfriend quoted from “The Color Purple” about how God must feel if we go by a field of purple flowers and don’t take notice.  If that is how our Creator feels about a purple field, I can’t imagine it’s any less important for us to notice that beautiful gold that fairly glows in the afternoon sun.

I’m in love.  As I drove on, I thought about my oldest asking me in the past week what I want for Christmas.

I think it might just be a ginkgo.  Or ten.

Well, that and a weeping willow or two.  I have my Bradford pear (that has yet to catch afire with the flaming red and golden leaves–seems late to me this year for some reason), and I have my heavenly smelling tea olives.  I even have a couple of magnolias.  So yes, I think a ginkgo would be just the perfect addition.

As I sat at my appointment thinking about all those lovely trees whose leaves were dropping to make a golden carpet beneath, I remembered seeing just such a sight at my home away from home–Wesleyan College, where I made such wonderful memories and where my oldest calls home for now.  They also had them in Japan which we enjoyed seeing while we lived there.  The ginkgo is another tree whose story is interwoven with mine.

Our roots are bound together now.  And I love that.

What tree or plant shares in your story?  Which ones bring you joy just at the sight of them?

Loving this time of year when, quite frankly, so many of the trees are showing off before crawling into bed for the winter.

Love to all.

Showa_Kinen_Koen_golden_gingko

The gingko trees at Show Park in Japan–a place that helped ease my homesickness while we lived there. I didn’t get a picture today because I was taking it all in and didn’t think of it until too late. Japanexperterna (CCBYSA) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Mother Nature’s Obituary

What a beautiful day we had today here at the house!

While it started off a bit cold, it warmed up to be glorious and I may or may not have seen two boys (whom I might have been responsible for) running around outside in their bare feet. Sorry, Mess Cat.  (Now I get why Mama and Daddy let my baby brother do that in the winter–they always said he’d come in if his feet got cold.  And you know what? They were right.)

We had a yard full of children again today.  When I started a fire in the pit so Shaker, who was over playing today, could roast marshmallows for his snack, I was once again surrounded by children excited to roast and toast and eat them some marshmallows.

Except for one.

The youngest in the bunch was sitting next to the fire in a chair one of them had pulled up (we ran out of log space), playing on the iPad one of the others had brought with her.

From the moment I spied the thing, I eyed it suspiciously.  I wanted to shake it by the scruff of its neck and say, “Don’t you be messing up my nice day!”   First of all, I was nervous (thank you for showing up, Anxiety Girl) that something would happen to the expensive device while in our yard.  Second, from time to time, different ones were sitting and talking to it and touching it and playing one game or another and not taking in where they were…..what all was around them…..whom they were with.

I forbade mine from playing it.  Yeah, Cooter asked.  He even asked to come inside and get my device so he could “play” with them.

Just no.

Y’all.  Mother Nature is going to die, it’s already happening.  And there will be no one around who can write her obituary because No. One. Will. Notice.

Excuse me.  That was the sound of my heart breaking.

Already we are raising children who would rather watch a movie for the twelfth time than look out the window at scenery they may never have seen before.  We have folks sitting across from each other, never seeing anything other than the screen in front of them.  Young people who would be happy staying inside all day, playing games, listening to music, carrying on “relationships” via messages, texts, and emails–without ever setting a foot outside OR talking to an actual person.

At the same time the young one with the iPad was sitting in front of a fire I built all by my big girl self (okay it took me a while, but I’m getting there) surrounded by trees and birds and squirrels and bugs and all kinds of things to see–and her friends, I caught a glimpse of our Princess who had pulled a chair down to the corner of the yard.  She had in her lap a notepad.  I squinted in the sunlight to see what she was lifting up, and I realized she had a set of binoculars that had come in a kids’ meal.  She was making notes of what she saw in the woods behind us.  She was playing “Girl Scouts” with her friends and she decided today was Nature Day.

Ironic, isn’t it?

I blame us, the parents.  I’m not perfect.  While I am thrilled at what my girl was up to today, it’s not a given.  She and her brother ask to play on electronics quite frequently.  But it seems that the longer the time since they last played, the less frequently they ask.  It’s kind of like an addiction in a sense.  They have to work it out of their system, and then they seem a little better.  I’ve been known to call the devices in our house the “grumpy screens,” because folks sure can get grumpy when the battery gets low/it’s someone else’s turn/it’s not working fast enough/they are losing the game/I say no to purchasing add-ons, and so much more.  Definitely grumpy.

I remember what Daddy told me when I was thinking about signing up for Facebook: “Well as long as you make it work for you and you don’t work for it, you’ll be all right.”

Amen.

I’ve heard his words in my head today, and I think that truth applies to so many things, and today, especially electronics.

I’m afraid we are all doing more work for those devices than they are for us.

Speaking for my own family, of course.

And that is why I’m doing some serious soul-searching.  I don’t want the flowers and trees to fall to their knees and return to the earth which gives them life.  To ponder a life with no frogs hopping across the yard, no squirrels scampering along the back fence, NO BIRDS SINGING–FORTHELOVE.  I can’t even fathom it.

And I don’t want to.

I think it’s time we need to be showing Mother Nature a little more love.  Beg her not to give up, to hang in there.  We need to start paying more attention to her, getting to know her better.  Have a real relationship with her.

If we don’t, I’m afraid she and all of her kin will perish, with no one left who remembers what she was like, because no one took the time to look and see what she has to offer.  All too busy with eyes on screens and ears plugged with sounds that are all man-made.

Tonight I’m thankful for this wake up call.  I give thanks for a beautiful day with friends that reminded me who Mother Nature is, and what all she and Creation have to offer all of us.  I am better for the time I spent tanning my soul today.  My boys got along like a house on fire and weren’t ready to stop playing when it was time to go.  I am so happy that my Princess sees the beauty around her, and I hope to borrow her “glasses” one day and see what she sees.  My Mama once told a young mother watching her son play outside, “You brought him into this world, now let him show it to you.”

Amen.

In the meantime I will put down the phone, the laptop, the distractions, and take at least a few moments each day to sit with the Artist and Mother Nature and soak it all in, like art skillfully created and hung on the wall in a gallery.  Appreciate, compliment, and leave a richer, fuller, better person.

It’s a start.

Love to all.

 

Fungus Among Us…..and Beauty

Early one morning last week this was in my yard.

IMG_4715I was fascinated by its shape and nearly perfect imitation of a golf ball on a tee.  (I think I got that right, I don’t even play.)

Then yesterday morning, this greeted me.  As one friend shared about her yard, it looked like the Smurfs had moved in overnight.

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Isn’t that something?

I don’t know why, but I’ve been intrigued by them.  On my walk with Miss Sophie this morning I saw the tiniest little ones, barely discernible to my bifocaled eyes.  Where do they come from?  What brings them to the exact spot that they grow and not to any of the other 1000 places in my yard?  And why did they choose my yard over my neighbors’ yards?

I’ve gotta tell ya, it feels pretty magical.  I went to bed one night, no mushrooms.  I get up the next day and that right there.

Magic.  Of the fairies sort.  Or a test run for Santa and this is what he left.

All silliness aside, I’m in awe of these creatures.  I do not want a mushroom anywhere near my kitchen and especially not on my plate, but in my yard…..downright delightful.

How do they know how to grow?

I mean, in that perfect circle like that.  How is it that they do it–every.  single.  time.

Amazing.

There’s one in the backyard that my bifocaled eyes first thought was a rock.  It’s brown in color and HUGE.  The top is very full and “fluffy” looking.  It is going downhill slowly.  I wonder what the lifespan is on a mushroom.  I’ve never really had the chance to figure it out before because something or someone usually gets to any that we’ve had before they could reach their natural demise.

That round perfection…..of each and every mushroom in my yard.  The exact placement of each one.  That the One who created me took the time to place each one and taught it how it was supposed to grow, each and every one, in its perfect way…..that blows me out of the water.  Mind blown.

I guess this is where I should say something about grand design and how we are each created to grow and be just as we are…..in our own individual form of perfection.  But I won’t.

Instead I’ll say what I say when I see a perfect sunset or a field full of wildflowers or listen to the birds singing in my backyard (I’m a bird farmer, you know)…..

Good job, God!

I don’t want to eat one, but tonight I’m thankful for mushrooms.  All of them sprinkled across my yard.  For reminding me of the One who creates and for Whom our world and our hearts are palettes.  Such beauty even in the midst of fungus…..sometimes I really like how God rolls.

 

 

Y’all just look at that purple!

Sunday afternoon found us at my Aunt’s house.  A place of sanctuary and peace for me.  Maybe partly because it’s a place to go that Mt. Washmore doesn’t threaten to take me down nor is the sink threatening to erupt from all the dirty dishes.  But mostly I think it feels that way for me because it’s a place where things settle and grow–flowers, vegetables, fruit, animals, children, and souls.  It’s a place to set a spell and just visit.  And I love that they let me do that.

It was a beautiful day.  The littles always head immediately to the swings.  My Princess had already been told by my Cousin to ask his Mama, my Aunt, if she could pick the flowers.  They have such beautiful daffodils around the trunks of many of the pecan trees out there.  I was sure she wouldn’t want them picked, but when Princess asked, my Aunt told her to pick all she wanted.

Gracious.

Princess smiled the biggest smile and headed off to pick some flowers.  She passed by every bunch of daffodils and headed straight for the purple “flowers” over near the garden.  She skipped as she went, the bounce in her step showing her joy.  She had no idea she was about to pick what many would call “weeds.”

My Aunt looked astonished and then we both began laughing.  That’s how it goes, isn’t it?  You put time and energy and effort into something and it’s the thing that you had very little or nothing to do with that knocks people’s socks off.

Been there.  Some nights I sit and ponder and edit and worry and obsess and really pour sweat and tears into what I write, and it sits there commentless and nothing happens.  And then I write something about an earthworm on the sidewalk outside or vent about things when I have a splitting headache and folks respond whole-heartedly.  I’m not complaining, mind you, and neither did my Aunt.  It’s just one of those things that makes you laugh about how the world works.

It’s been a while, maybe even two years ago, since my Pastorfriend shared this but it stays with me, especially this time of year.  She shared a line from “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker.

I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about.  But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back. –Alice Walker, “The Color Purple”

I think she’s right.  About it all.  And ever since my friend shared this with us, I have made it my job to notice purple fields.  Weeds or no, they are beautiful.   When I see them, I call out, “Purple!” and inevitably one of us will say, “Good job, God!”  I love the fields of purple.  Beauty coming from an unexpected place.  I embrace that and give thanks for it.

Just like today.

Our Princess' bouquet she picked for me today.  I don't have a picture of the beautiful purple bouquet from Sunday.

Our Princess’ bouquet she picked for me today. I’m sad I don’t have a picture of the beautiful purple bouquet from Sunday.

We stopped by my Aunt’s again this afternoon, and I hope it becomes a habit.  (Hope they mean it when they say y’all come back now.)  We were pulling carrots and talking about nothing and everything and swinging and picking more flowers.  Princess thinks she might become a florist, and I think she has an eye for it.  As my bag was nearing full, my Aunt asked if we’d like any onions.

Onions?

That makes me tear up.  And not because they’re, well, you know, onions.

I love onions.

I love their bottoms and their tops.  I love the way they taste and everything about them.  When I was in college two of my classmates were cooking in the dorm kitchen on second floor.  It smelled heavenly.  When I walked by and said so, one said, “Oh, it’s just onions so far, but we’re adding meat and making spaghetti.”  The other said, “My Mama always said, if you need folks to think you’re cooking something delicious but you haven’t got it together yet, throw an onion in the skillet and you’ll buy yourself some time.”  (Usually for me it’s time to figure out what exactly I’m going to fix for this crew, but yes, someone always says, “Supper smells good.”  Thanky, thanky very much.)

When we pulled up the first one, Cooter came over and said, “Can I pull one too?”  These were a little more stubborn than the carrots had been.  My Aunt pointed out that maybe she should have brought the trowel to make it easier, which made so much more sense than what I first thought I heard her say–a towel.  (Well, maybe it would have helped us grip a little better and not pull the greens off?  I’m just sayin.)  I helped him get one out of the ground, or maybe he helped me.  Anyway, I stood up and offered it to him.

“Smell it,” I told him.  “That’s what springtime in Georgia smells like.”

And it does.

The beautiful onions we pulled today.  The smell of spring.

The beautiful onions we pulled today. The smell of spring.

The flowers are lovely and beautiful and their smell is pretty.  But I’ll leave that nectar to the hummingbirds and bees and yellowjackets and Billy bees that will be buzzing around all too soon.  As far back as I can remember, I have loved the smell of wild onions growing in a field behind Blackberry Flats.  Or out at my Granny’s.  Or when I’d catch a whiff of them, going down a highway, with them growing in the median or on the shoulder of the road.

It’s almost as a good as a tea olive–it’s a balm for the soul.

Today, a day that started off with rain and worries over numbers and things that set my head to spinning and my heart to craving simpler times, by afternoon was filled with the things of soul tanning.  Sunshine, gorgeous cerulean sky straight from a Maxfield Parrish painting (oh y’all), green is starting to show more and more, folks helping other folks, laughter (thank you Lord), and the smell of fresh picked onions.

"Ecstasy" by Maxfield Parrish from maxfieldparrish.info  I once had a sweatshirt with this painting on the front.  This work of art has always touched my heart.

“Ecstasy” by Maxfield Parrish from maxfieldparrish.info I once had a sweatshirt with this painting on the front. This work of art has always touched my heart.

Oh me.  What a day.

On the way home the purples were more vivid, and the sun was more golden, and it occurred to me that this time next week, we will have more sunlight to enjoy.  Well, maybe not, but still…..as much as I love me a gray, rainy day, I do love me some beautiful barefeet weather.  And not to have to rush to have time to get supper done and walk Miss Sophie because we have more time in the evening? Well, I say bring it.

Wishing you all a purple field and the heart and soul to appreciate it.

Love to all.