Things I've Been Seeing

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Trees of God, and of Mount Hermon

Of great appeal are Mt. Hermon’s lush grounds, around which I traipsed during the recent days I spent there for the annual Christian Writers’ Conference. The spring-blooming trees had burst forth in all their glory, and I thought of the incredible words in Genesis 2.

And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”

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Random Thoughts: Some Black, Some White

20150223-untitled (11 of 34)Chilly, finally, after the unusually warm weather we’ve been having. The earth was wet from rain in the night, temperature in the high 30s, so I had bundled up, and had pulled on gloves for the trek to the lake, even though it is hard to handle Winston and the camera while wearing gloves. Lake Gregory was spectacular, and as I often do, I thought I don’t come down here enough. Before the day was over, rain pelted our woods, and our yards, and soft, watery snow fell in its typical silent way.

20150223-untitled (15 of 34)How did God make all this? Did He sit down somewhere–a kind of creation studio–and consider the varieties of trees, flowers, leaf shapes, stone colors, animal faces, ocean volume, sand for the deserts, whiskers and noses . . .?

20150223-untitled (16 of 34)I saw that several large trees have been felled near the lodge. Why? Were they diseased, or just somehow in the way or . . .? I have friends who have recently danced about with death, some even at this moment are dodging and weaving, and I have a sense of its dreadfulness, and that the cutting down of life smacks of pain and decay, and we don’t like it.

20150223-untitled (17 of 34)Strange, isn’t it that even we who are Christians and believe in a hereafter do not want to die. Few exceptions.

“How many want to go to Heaven today?” Nathaniel’s little five-year-old voice boomed from the upstairs area as we sat around in the living room with guests. No one answered, so that little grandson of mine asked again, “How many want to go to Heaven today?” We adults–Christians, ministers–grinned, looked at each other, and decided none of us wanted to go today. Strange, huh? Or not?

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20150223-untitled (22 of 34)My heart breaks for some I know whose lives are upside down. Can’t get it straight. Can’t make it work. . .Good people. I cry.

20150223-untitled (25 of 34)Life Cycles. The bud. Summer warmth, then leaves crackle, dry up, and fall to the earth. And it is Winter.


Bear of Hobby Lobby

When Rebecca and I visited Hobby Lobby on the Monday after Christmas, among all the Christmas things that were priced 80% off, I found this charming boy. Of course I took him home with me. How could anyone resist such a face, especially with an ear turned over in a classy jaunt. And that bowtie!

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20150105-untitled (8 of 8)I noted in the store that his belly seemed to have some sort of a problem, kind of leaned to one side.

20150105-untitled (4 of 8)After I settled him down at home, I saw that he also had an injury of the arm, which doesn’t look too serious, but may require surgical instruments which I have in my sewing kit.

20150105-untitled (5 of 8)I made him a bed and tilted him over, so he could more easily begin his healing process.

The other animals and miscellaneous Christmas items are now tucked away in their boxes. Not this little fella, though. I kept him out where I could watch him to see that he fully recovers. He has black, hard eyes. Sweet eyes, though, and from a table in the living room he watches me as I go about my business. From time to time I pat his soft skin.

A Traipse Through My Autumn Gardens

Fall Bounty

Fall Bounty

The easy breeze of Spring then melded into the glory of Summer, bare feet padding about on powdery country paths, languid days of backyard grills and children calling in the twilight. Slow and mellow have filtered away these days and have emptied themselves so that now the sense is of gathering and of preservation, and into the vessel of fall trickle the days, longer ones, with lifting winds that bare the trees and call up brown pods and falling twigs and scampering squirrels who busy themselves with the harvest, knowing somehow by God’s wisdom that the long Winter approaches. (Our beautiful bushy-tailed squirrels here in Crestline were stricken by a disease some years ago, but slowly are re-establishing themselves and when I see one run across the street or through the woods, I’m happy.)

Ethereal Autumn

Ethereal Autumn

I walk my gardens, sorry for the hydrangea who did so poorly over the summer and wondering if my watering or my digging habits contributed to its sad state, but exulting in its fall attire. Inside the garage on Jerry’s workbench I snag a set of clippers, return to the garden spot and snip the tired blossoms from the stiff stem, noting that yet some bright green leaves and stem remained. I admire the plant and its struggle to the end, believing it did its best, and unable to escape the niggling thought that I may have contributed to its poor showing. Carefully I lay the dried flowers on the deck step, thinking of the beauty of their form and of their color and considering where I would place them once I carried them inside.

Autumn's Dream

Autumn’s Dream

A solitary pear had fallen from its tree. I reached and pulled down another and knew again its spectacular form as I rubbed my hand over its slightly rough skin, so unlike many apples which are smooth and slick. I paused to consider the rich color of my two pears, their brown spots of imperfection, and the twisted and bent shape of one.

Apple and Hydrangea

Apple and Hydrangea

The apples are small. Golden Delicious, they are versatile, great for eating out of hand, and wonderful for pies. One year, from our ancient tree I baked tiny pies for several of my neighbors. I know they were luscious for I whipped up a big one for Jerry and me.

Goliath Acorns

Goliath Acorns

In other years, we have had a larger amount of acorns fall from our numerous oak trees here in the area than this year, but I cannot recall when the acorns have been as large as they are now. About a month ago we had heavy winds and as though a giant hand were about, these Goliath acorns were shaken to the ground. For several days a symphony of sorts rang about our wooden decks as these monstrous acorns beat about as a band of drums. One of them struck Jerry so hard that it bruised his hand.

Yet, I like acorns. Every year I gather handsfull of them, and always it strikes me that they look like little people–brown, black and mahogany people who wear straw hats, but who have no eyes nor noses. I find a suitable receptacle and some of them live in my house for several weeks.

Today it is colder than it was yesterday when I rambled about my gardens. Though I haven’t been outside today, I know the winds are rising for the tall trees are whipping, and leaves and acorns are skittering about. Sweet potatoes are baking in the oven, Jerry and Winston are napping, and I’m thinking fall may be my favorite time of the year.

How about you? Do you have a favorite season? What’s going on at your place? 🙂

Spectacular Mystery Plant

20141004-untitled (6 of 13)I bought this plant a few months ago at the 99 cent store. It had no name placard, nor any way to identify the plant. It has flourished in a pot set in the lower part of our back yard here in Crestline, CA.

20141004-untitled (9 of 13)The pot sets in an old chair, the rust made beautiful by the fushia tendrils that end the white fronds that hang down. The leaves range from green to deep purple.20141004-untitled (7 of 13)

20141004-untitled (13 of 13)The plant is a striking one that seems very hardy, having endured much neglect this summer.

Can anyone identify this magnificent specimen?

Iris in the Spring

Yesterday, hard rain struck our earth here in Crestline, frigid cold enveloped our land, and then hail pebbles by the thousand pelted our decks and our gardens.

Today, I walked among the invigorated plants where I saw that water drops still lipped on the edges of some of them. Last fall I stuffed a tub that sets on the side planter with bulbs. Today, an Iris is open. Another is a splendid promise.

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Leopard at the Zoo

The recent trip to the San Diego Zoo with two grandchildren included these images: ImageThe beautiful leopard may have been my favorite that day. He was tucked away behind glass and among greenery. Image

When we walked by his enclosure again a little latter, he was fast asleep.