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.”
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.
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 . . .?
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.
“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?
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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? 🙂
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.
Can anyone identify this magnificent specimen?
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.
When we walked by his enclosure again a little latter, he was fast asleep.
During the month of October there are no admission charges to the San Diego Zoo for youngsters 11 years and under. On Saturday, Jerry and I loaded up Brady and Ella and we four walked about for more than five hours. During that time, we saw this glorious bird, who first showed its magnificent eyelashes to great advantage.