An Abstract Expressionist

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A full year passed (the seasons keep me honest)
since I last noticed this same commotion.   
Who knew God was an abstract expressionist?
I’m asking myself—the very question   
I asked last year, staring out at this array   

of racing colors-the out-of-control Virginia creeper   

my friends say I should do something about,
whose vermilion went at least a full shade deeper…
~Jacqueline Osherow from “Autumn Psalm”
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It gets out of hand — the Virginia Creeper — traveling surreptitiously from one building to the next, up trees and poles and down holes.  We don’t know every place it has gone until it turns crimson in October, shouting loudly in technicolor from the most hidden spots.  It cannot hide.
Our efforts at creeper control are meager in comparison to the Artist’s effort to brighten our world on a sullen autumn morning. What is stripped away one year reappears reinvigorated somewhere else.
The farm has become gallery, the buildings and grounds a canvas, the Artist busy painting free-form, and the audience, (yes those of us with eyes to see), stand breathless as mere witness.
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Not One Blade of Grass

 

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There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.
~John Calvin

 

We are given the option to notice
or not
We are given reason to rejoice
or not
We are given a rain-bowed promise to witness
or not.
So why ever not?

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The Abstract Expressionist

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A full year passed (the seasons keep me honest)
since I last noticed this same commotion.   
Who knew God was an abstract expressionist?

I’m asking myself—the very question   
I asked last year, staring out at this array   
of racing colors-

the out-of-control Virginia creeper   

my friends say I should do something about,
whose vermilion went at least a full shade deeper…
~Jacqueline Osherow from “Autumn Psalm”

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Holding Fast

creepertwirls1Virginia Creeper Holdfasts in Winter

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All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.
~Henry Ellis

The Virginia Creeper vines,
stripped bare by winter,
cling steadily in winds and rain
through thousands of tiny “holdfast” suckers.
The glue holds tight, taking the vine
where no vine has gone before.
Once there, it stays put–
an invincible foundation.

Letting go comes as
spring and summer surge forth
through the veins of the vine,
branches and berries
dangle daringly in mid-air,
reaching for the next grab-hold,
the next surface to be conquered.
I wish I were as adventuring
as I creep through my days.
My fingers and toes tend to
cling fast to home,
to become adhesive
for what grows from me,
from which a glorious and unforgettable
autumn is flung
into the future.creepergarage

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Crimson Fingers

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…God’s not nonexistent; He’s just been waylaid
by a host of what no one could’ve foreseen.   

He’s got plans for you: this red-gold-green parade
is actually a fairly detailed outline.  
 
…it’s true that my Virginia creeper praises Him,   

its palms and fingers crimson with applause,   
that the local breeze is weaving Him a diadem…
~Jacqueline Osherow from “Autumn Psalm”
 
 
 
 
The crimson leaves creep over the brow of our ancient garage in growing streaks and flowing streams, crawling alongside to reach new destinations.
This old building was once a small church at the turn of the 20th century,
moved just a few hundred yards from the intersection of two country roads
to this raised knoll.

It is fitting that every fall this little cedar-paneled church,
emptied of sermons and worship
full of our boxed and stored lives,
weeps red.

 
Every autumn these bloodied fingers reach out
to touch and bless,
clasp and envelope:
Do not despair.
He’s got plans.
Plans that give hope.

I must follow.

 
 
Oh, feed me this day, Holy Spirit, with
the fragrance of the fields and the
freshness of the oceans which you have
made, and help me to hear and to hold
in all dearness those exacting and wonderful
words of our Lord Jesus Christ, saying:
Follow me.
~Mary Oliver from “Six Recognitions of the Lord”
 
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