The art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. ~Henry Havelock Ellis
…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…
…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”
With what stoic delicacy does Virginia creeper let go: the feeblest tug brings down a sheaf of leaves kite-high, as if to say, To live is good but not to live—to be pulled down with scarce a ripping sound, still flourishing, still stretching toward the sun— is good also, all photosynthesis abandoned, quite quits. Next spring the hairy rootlets left unpulled snake out a leafy afterlife up that same smooth-barked oak. ~John Updike “Creeper”
The Virginia Creeper vine, its crimson leaves crawl over the brow of our ancient shed like a lock of unruly hair or a flowing stream. This humble building was a small chapel a century ago, moved from the intersection of two country roads to this raised knoll for forever sanctuary.
It is befitting that every fall this former church, now empty of sermons and hymns, weeps red.
Each winter the stripped bare vine clings tightly through thousands of “holdfast” suckers. The glue keeps the vine attached where no vine has gone before. Once there, it stays until pulled away; it becomes an invincible foundation to build upon in the spring.
Do not despair in this austere winter. The Lord has plans and will not be moved or ripped away, even when His name is removed from schools or public squares, He’s holding on, waiting on us, waiting for the spring and won’t ever, no never, let go.
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”
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.
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.
…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”