Flower in the crannied wall, I pluck you out of the crannies, I hold you here, root and all, in my hand, Little flower—but if I could understand What you are, root and all, all in all, I should know what God and man is. ~Lord Alfred Tennyson “Flower in the Crannied Wall”
Am I root, or am I bud? Am I stem or am I leaf?
All in all, I am but the merest reflection of God’s fruiting glory;
I am His tears shed as He broke into blossom.
A new book from Barnstorming available for order here
I try, as best I can, to see the world from a perspective other than my own:
Spending this week with our toddler grandson has helped me to look at things at the three foot rather than six foot level and suddenly I’m overwhelmed with how large everything appears.
I read opinions that differ considerably from my own so I can gain understanding and hopefully compassion for how others perceive the events of the world, even when I don’t and won’t agree.
And I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be a bee – to leave my warm and cozy community to find the best sources of pollen, diving bum-deep into a plethora of colors and fragrances, from ‘blossom to blossom to impossible blossom.’
Bees have a life-preserving mission in the world – not only to sustain themselves and their hive, but pollinating millions of blooms, an essential task for the fruiting of the land. Now that is a purpose-driven life.
We are no different. Our reason to exist goes far beyond our self-preservation, or the preservation of everyone who looks like or thinks like we do, i.e. “hive-mind.” We were created to care for the rest of the world, by dipping into each beautiful and sacred thing that thrives here because of us, not despite us.
And that includes each other, as different as we look and think and act. Each of us a sweet impossible blossom.
New book available from Barnstorming — information on how to order it here
steal through us
fir-fingers touch one another
where the paths meet
thick dripping resin
glues us together
hammer at hardy
seed-hiding hearts~Inger Christensen (1963)
trans. Susanna Nied
A visit to a temperate rain forest (Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park only a ferry-ride and short drive away from where we live) reminds me of how glued we are to this place we live and to each other. We wander paths past 300 year old trees that cling to one another and will for many more generations, hanging with the crepe of dangling moss. They are closely tethered together, taking others down with them when they eventually fall to the wind and then nurse the sprouting and growth of the next generation’s seeds from their long rotting trunks.
Among their midst, the streams flow clear and pristine, feeding the roots and shoots of all growing things.
Our hearts are too often harder than this firm and weathered bark covered in the drapery of moss. How willingly do I give myself up for the next generation? How silently do I reach out to touch the ones next to me and hang on steady through the strong and destructive winds of time?
May we know this Alpha and Omega who lay down for us, our beginning and ending, our nurture and our protector.
Nobody can keep on being angry if she looks into the heart of a pansy for a little while. ~L.M. Montgomery
The world is in sore need of a cure for the grumbles. Just glance (just glance, don’t dwell!) at the headlines.
Fortunately, the cure exists right outside in our back yards, along sidewalks and in vacant lots. A cheerful face is irresistible to all but the crabbiest among us, guaranteed to bring a smile every time.
Beyond the pansy’s obvious superficial charm exists a depth of heart — roots able to thrive in the thinnest of soil, at home among rocks and weeds, resilient even when tromped on.
We carry its seeds on the tread of our boots in spite of our grumbling and help spread the good news: anger left unfed will dry up and blow away.
And we’re thankful the constant heart of the pansy lasts in all its diversity, generation after generation. Thriving in some of the toughest, sparest, and most unforgiving places, it still, and always, smiles back.
Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something about the sun which you could never get from reading books on astronomy.
These pure and spontaneous pleasures are ‘patches of Godlight’ in the woods of our experience. ~C.S. Lewis
A solstice moment
when light replaces
where darkness thrives:
there is a wounding
that tears us open,
so joy can enter the cracks
that hurt the most.
Isn’t it plain the sheets of moss, except that they have no tongues, could lecture all day if they wanted about
spiritual patience? Isn’t it clear the black oaks along the path are standing as though they were the most fragile of flowers?
Every morning I walk like this around the pond, thinking: if the doors of my heart ever close, I am as good as dead. ~Mary Oliver from “Landscape”
Even in mid-January,
when endless days drag on dark and damp~
even when I am unconvinced
new life and light will ever return,
the mosses grow with enthusiasm,
requiring so little to stay alive~
they patiently encourage me
to keep open my heart
to the possibility
that even now,
I too can thrive.