I love people,
I love my family,
but inside myself
is a place where I live all alone
and that’s where you
renew your springs
that never dry up.
~Pearl S. Buck
Last week’s frigid winds and pelting sleet so punished the late blooming roses and perennials that their flowers, hips, and leaves were left hanging like the heads of mourners as they perished on nights too cold to sustain fragile life. But usually when our area endures an arctic storm such as this one, it’s not too long before the temps warm back up enough to melt the snow and/or ice. This assault, however, lowered temperatures so far below the freezing mark and the cloud cover has stayed in place so long that it may be a week or more before the temps rise high enough to rid us of the treacherous frozen remains. On those warmer days, whenever they do come, I’ll be chomping at the bit, as usual, to “draw close” to my beloved garden and dispose of the flowery carnage left in the storm’s wake. I like to do that so that when next I’m in that place “where I live all alone” like Buck and am unable to get outside, I can look out the window at the garden’s “ball gown” without it looking quite so tattered and torn.
The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs…strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. ~Isaiah 58:11
The leaves drift toward the earth like ships to land,
a voyage launched from timbers’ great lofty berths,
toward harbors safe, concealed from raider bands,
of icy galleons coursing wintry dearth.
Brrrrrrrr! Winter, though its debut isn’t until the solstice on December 21st, has been sending emissaries with forewarnings of its coming, but so far the fiercest courier it has dispatched is the bearer of today’s tidings. The forecast this time around includes threats of freezing rain, accumulations of ice, and the possibility of a wintry mix of ice and snow. The frigid north winds this particular messenger brought in are pushing fast and hard against comely autumn’s closing doors. So if not from this cold front, then from another one that can’t be far behind, the time draws near for that all too frigid breath of air to not simply shake and disturb the garden but to completely destroy its few blooming remnants. Whatever comes of this assault may put an end to rambling and pottering in the garden for awhile. But, the first seed catalog came yesterday, and whilst I wait for the sun’s return, next year’s dreamin’ and schemin’ can get underway.
The tempest comes out from its chamber, the cold from the driving winds. The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become frozen. ~Job 37:9-10 ✝
Of all the wonderful things in the wonderful universe of God,
nothing seems to me more surprising than the planting of a seed
in the blank earth and the result thereof.
Take the Poppy seed, for instance: it lies in your palm,
the merest atom of matter, hardly visible, a speck, a pin’s point in bulk,
but within it is imprisoned a spirit of beauty ineffable,
which will break its bonds and emerge from the dark ground
and blossom in a splendor so dazzling as to baffle all powers of description.
I love poppies, not just the flowers but also the lovely, fat pods that contain the future of the species. The plants that put on silky, paper-thin blossoms can grow to be 3 or 4 feet tall here if the “hardly visible” seeds are sown in the fall. So it is that in late October I toss out seeds from the ones I harvested from last’s years pods, and then all winter long I wait for the beauties which “baffle description” to make their appearance in my garden. As winter moves along, I keep myself reassured by going out to check on them after especially frigid days or after occasional snowfalls to make sure the burgeoning “babies” have not succumbed to the elements. And each time I go out, I almost squeal with delight when I discover that most of them, if not all, are still slowly but surely growing bigger and stronger. Then sometime in the early spring the day comes when the waiting is over and standing before me are the first fruits of my labors and watchfulness. Like dainty chalices, the cup-like flowers open up and drink in the day’s light while penning God’s autograph on the “scenes” of yet another springtime. Day by day after each individual flower’s petals fall to the ground, the intriguing seed pods take their place, and as temperatures climb, they begin to ripen. Some of these I eventually let fall to the ground to self sow; the remainder I gather and keep safe and dry until autumn comes and it is again time for me to partner with Creation and scatter abroad the “merest atoms” of such beautiful matter.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. ~Isaiah 61:11