Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Before the Green

It has always been the robin that is known in most circles as the harbinger of spring. In these parts of New York State, robins are around all winter now. And even when they weren't, spring in my mind meant one thing- the arrival of the red winged blackbird.
Each March I listen in the morning as I go to my car for the unmistakeable trill, the exhuberant wake up call from winter's quiet. Just last week, it was finally here! I heard my first blackbird and could then be allowed to imagine the first green shoots, the coming of the daffodils, the arrival of life back to my land.
The blackbirds are the first to arrive to brave the gray and cold that still lingers. They tell us, it won't be long, take heart. I guess that's why they wear their hearts on their sleeves.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Glimpses of the Glorious, Heavenly Blessings by Patty Rife

I've been thinking about the time I was looking out my door after a lengthy rain. Everything was drenched, and as the sun came out from behind the clouds it's rays touched the leaves of a holly bush. I had never seen anything so amazing...The bush shone red with a brilliance that glimmered as if the bush was on fire. Seeing this thrilled me because I had prayed that day for a glimpse of God, a sign that he was with me....It was for my eyes only since there was no one around with which to share this moment and I did not have a camera handy to capture it to share with anyone else. It was my moment my glimpse of the glorious..

Another time I was driving to work on a cold February morning. I was traveling along on a familiar country road when the sun was just beginning to come over the hill. As it did the the bright rays swept over the frosted branches on every tree and every blade of grass. Instantly everything began to shimmer like a million diamonds on both sides of the road. I was awestruck by how magnificently glorious that moment was as I tried to take it all in. As far as I could see everything was sparkling with a brilliance beyond description. The sight continued as I traveled the rest of the way to my work place.

I was so excited when I got there that I wanted everyone to come outside to look at what I had seen but my coworkers were preoccupied with their work ,and some looked at me in a way that made me feel a little fanatical about such goings on. They didn't know and they didn't care that I had just had a glimpse of something glorious and wonderful. Another moment just for me...shared with me by a glorious creator out of his love for me...what a special blessing.

Ephesians 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Dear Heart Women

As I was paying for my found treasures at a yard sale the lady in charge said, as she handed change to me, “Thank You Dear Heart.” When she said this some invisible arrow sprang straight to my heart and slivered it open. I looked at her and said, “that is one of the most beautiful things that I have ever heard.” She replied with, “I know it! I just say it and really mean it. People come back years later and tell me how much it meant to them.” One fellow that she worked with in the past looked her up, told her that being called Dear Heart nourished some need that hid deep inside of him, even inspired him to turn his life, which had been going downhill, back up in the right direction. As she was telling me this, people were starting to line up behind me, waiting to pay for their yard sale finds, so I thanked her and went on my way. I always thought I would go back and visit. I wanted to give her something in return for what she so freely gave. So I took her one of my recipe books and some of our honey just to find out that she was having yard sales because she was moving and she was already gone. So, I will probably never get to be blessed by or see her again but I will never forget The Dear Heart Woman.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hush, Listen. Go within.

"The Medicine Wheel represents everything. All the directions originate from the center outward. The center is the home of the Creator. The Medicine Wheel represents the human being. At our center is the home of the Great Spirit. This is why we are spiritual.

The easiest way for us to find God and talk to Him, is for us to become centered. This means, relax our bodies, still our minds, let go of our emotions and listen quietly. Shhh. Be still.

My Creator, let me walk in the stillness today."

“Then the LORD will guide you always and give you plenty even on the parched land. He will renew your strength, and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails.” Isaiah 58:11

Spring is Creeping in At Last

The Faces of March

March is a month of expectations. It is not quite spring but neither is it winter. Well, sometimes it is winter, March has the freedom of being both, one minute it is winter and the next moment it is spring.

March is like a little child holding the masks of both of these seasons up to his face and trying them on.
Master March puts on his winter mask with sudden tantrums of snowstorms and sharp winds. He then tosses on his spring mask and the coltsfoot blooms, merrily yellow, in every little wet ditch alongside the township roads.

Coltsfoot stems look like little fawns lifting themselves up on furry, wobbling legs. I find it interesting that those little stems are also said to look like an old man's pipe.

Folklore has it that you can dry coltsfoot leaves to smoke in such a pipe as a remedy for asthma. With flowers that slightly resemble dandelion blossoms they seem to be a happy sort of plant, somewhat like their name.

Another native wildflower that blooms this time of year is the regal bloodroot. You will not find it showing off alongside the road like the coltsfoot. Instead it hides its blooms in the dark protective cover of the woods. Walking under the pines the other day I was surprised to find it already in flower. Bloodroot's pure white blossoms stand out shockingly aglow amidst the greens and browns of the woods.

There are tiny flowers blooming everywhere. The honey bees in our yard are relishing the sweetness of the crocuses, the snowdrops and the maple tree blossoms but nothing can say it is spring more potently then the spring peepers. When their optimistic melody breaks out on a warm March or April evening it is like PING and you feel it. They strum the chord that reverberates, spring! Don't you love those first warm days and nights when you can throw open the windows of your home and let the scent of fresh air flow through?

Eruptions of Blooms Appear Everywhere

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Faces of March

March is a month of expectations. It is not quite spring but neither is it winter. Well, sometimes it is winter, March has the freedom of being both, one minute it is winter and the next moment it is spring. March is like a little child holding the masks of both of these seasons up to his face and trying them on.
Master March puts on his winter mask with sudden tantrums of snowstorms and sharp winds. He then tosses on his spring mask and the coltsfoot blooms, merrily yellow, in every little wet ditch alongside the township roads.

Brave as You

Snowdrop, how dare you bloom so soon?
When most flowers wait til June?
What a joy you bring as you pretend its spring.
How sweetly you lift up your white and green crowned head,
When all around you, appears as dead.
Oh, could I be as brave as you?
And smile when all is cold and blue?

March Fourth

March is my favorite month. Some might say that I am biased because it is my birthday month. I think that I chose March to be born in because March is full of veiled, arcane signs of wonders to come. Some days he teases us with them and on other days he hides them away. But always I know that March is really spring, sometimes hesitantly and sometimes convincingly, wearing a mask of winter. For March has never failed to bring to these hills the magical miracle of winter finally giving up and surrendering to springtime.

How can I not be amazed by the transforming breath of March that seems to turn a drop of snow into a flower? The Snowdrop, the bravest bud of all, is the blossom of this month. While all the other vegetation is still sleeping, not reaching upward until April, May or June, the Snowdrop has, for quite some time, been about his lonely, arduous journey of surmounting the snow. This outwardly, delicate beauty seems to have been yearning for spring, in its inner most being, for such a long time that come March it cannot restrain itself from insisting that springtime is here! Even though the others of its kind, insist that it is not.

They must assume that the Snowdrop is foolish but oh what elation I believe the Snowdrops knows. The Snowdrop is so courageous that it ostensibly laughs at winter and even though the world around him is still weeping and cold with despair the Snowdrop has faith that it is spring and so to him, it is. Thus this humble flower holds the secret that if you believe, you will receive. Appearing so small, so timid, how strong these tiny little sprouts really must be to bear the ice, the frost, the cold harsh force of winter and to joyfully bloom in spite of them all.

Indeed, The Creator has endowed the Snowdrop with everything that it needs, to be the forerunner, bestowing it with hardiness and with very sturdy, pointed tips with which to push through the crusts of snow. My soul would be in dark despair indeed if I did not drop to my knees some sweet day in March to bask in the beauty of this, the most optimistic of all flowers, which in the language of the flora and fauna bears the greatest message of all, the message of hope.

It is also in March, when those Snowdrops push up from the earth, that I am inspired to go outside and sickle down the old, dead growth of last autumn’s flowers so that the new shoots can be seen. I am a lazy type of gardener and one who likes to see natural things in my landscape. I leave the autumn flower stalks where they grew so that I can admire how the fall aster’s skeletons hold the January snows, turning themselves into white winter flowers. During the cold winds of February the dry shells of the columbines and the primroses rattle, making a gentle, rhythmic, thudding sound. So it is not until March that I shatter the snippets of last year’s dried foliage while the cardinal sings down to me from the highest limbs of the wild cherry tree,
“Prettier, Prettier, Prettier!”

When the snow is melting, I carry packets of Larkspur and annual Forget- Me- Not in my pockets and tuck these little black seeds into loose spots of soil. I like planting them here and there to create the rambling, cottage style gardens that I adore. I must do it all by hand as these little plants do not self-sow for me, I believe that they like a sweeter soil than mine. It is desirable to plant these seeds early as they need the cold nip of frost, it cracks their tough shells. They will also only sprout in the dark so I push each one of them down into a tomb of soil and cover them with a grave blanket of leaves and moss.

As I do this I am reminded that sometimes us humans, just like these seeds, will only sprout up after a time of cold and dark. The dark days are not all in vain but are meant to prepare us to bloom sturdily, in our season, as The Creator longs for us to bloom. And so it is that when my birthday comes around again every year on March the 4th I am reminded by the command within the date to march forth with renewed vigor just as the March flowers do. And to clasp tight to the hope that thrives in my heart, that winter, in humans, just like in the gardens, is preordained to melt away, at last, into spring.