Monday, August 22, 2016

Cider Summer

The warmth of these August days presses down upon the ripening fruits. As I walk the pond path through what was probably at one time an apple-cherry-filbert orchard, the air is cider-scented. Even here from the school room window, I catch wafts of pear and apple sweetness. September is coming.

The trees in apple orchards 
With fruit are bending down.

H.H. Jackson

Something stirs within me every time I pass an apple tree. I played beneath the benevolent branches in our own backyard as a child and delighted in my mother's homemade apple butter, so I'm sure nostalgia has something to do with it. The added memory trigger -- scent -- is so compelling it makes my throat swell with a longing ache, almost akin to sadness.

With Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings I might say,

I do not know the irreducible minimum of happiness for any other spirit than my own. It is impossible to be certain even of mine. Yet I believe that I know my tangible desideratum. It is a tree-top against a patch of sky.

Funny that one can feel sad over a happiness. My personal "treetop against a patch of sky" would have to be apple or birch, I believe. The added delight of fruit clusters in late August or early September make apple trees particularly lovely to gaze upon, and the wild abandon with which they appear in our neck of the woods turns them into familiar, homey friends -- like coming home.  

My sister and I used to play with our dolls beneath the snowball bushes in our backyard, not far from the heady apple trees. With crisp white petals blanketing the grass and the snowy globes swaying overhead, we knew -- even without being able to name our "tangible desideratum" -- that there was indeed something magical about gazing through "a tree-top against a patch of sky" on a cider-scented summer afternoon.  

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Vancouver Rocks

Today I was Alice, tumbling into Wonderland. The landscape was mostly familiar, but every once in a while a colorful trinket caught my eye. Curiouser and curiouser!

About half a dozen painted rocks into my walk (I'm slow), it finally occurred to me to pick one up and turn it over. "Vancouver Rocks," it read.

Apparently it's a facebook group, and apparently I found some of the artwork tucked around town. Like Easter eggs, the vibrantly painted stones are a delight to the eye and bring a smile to the unsuspecting pedestrian. 

I think the idea is to pick up the rocks and maybe hide them elsewhere . . . or keep them . . . . I'm not sure, but I left my discoveries along the pond path, ready to delight other passers-by. I just might have to get my girls in on this!  

Monday, August 8, 2016

Beyond Sunsets and Rainbows

I would have limited God's glory to sunsets and rainbows. To the color of dahlias and the taste of peaches. But in August I understand that the earth is full of His glory. It soaks everything, seeps from every seam. It spills out in a sudden wind. It burns our skin like sunshine. We droop beneath the heavy weight of glory in the humid air and spy its mystery in the spider that scuttles away before we quite know what it is we've seen.

Christie Purifoy, Roots and Sky 

I, too, limit God's glory. Yet I surprised myself by finding it even in the less-than-cuddly creatures of the pond today: The snake that wriggled across my path . . . the prickly purple thistle that stood proudly against the browning grasses . . . the underground beehive that swarmed with activity, causing me to walk quickly on by.

For that matter, the "cuddly" creatures themselves remind me to keep my distance. The other day I spied three young raccoons tucked among the blackberry brambles, munching on berries with their dainty little paws. (Alas, my camera was at home!) Their perfect masks, ringed tails, and cunning waddle were almost irresistible, until I reminded myself that -- had they been older -- they might have been somewhat aggressive. I pass the brambles more cautiously now.

As is often the case, I think of Aslan in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

"Is he safe?" 

"Course he isn't safe. But he's good." 

Nature isn't safe. I tend to limit God's glory to the safe and beautiful. But I can also see glimmers of it in the wild and free, in the reckless and bold. It makes me feel small. But it also makes Him feel so much bigger, so much more vast and marvelous than I can comprehend. Indeed, the whole earth is filled with His glory.