#107 – Waiting for Real Spring

Spring-2018
Rockway Gardens, May 17, 2018

I love this photo of yellow spring flowers planted thick, one of them even falling over!  To my eye, this is “real spring” in southwestern Ontario. We need to wait a couple more weeks for it, at least according to last year’s schedule.

Rockway-Gardens-2019-04-30
Rockway Gardens, April 30, 2019

In the meantime, I find these stark purple and white crocuses just as satisfying – maybe more so. It’s fun to watch bulbs bursting forth in unexpected places.The bench speaks to me of welcome and warmth and promise in days to come. The photos together assure me that not every week in May will be chill and rainy. And amazingly, by early evening, warmth and sun have returned, new bulbs have burst forth, and new flowers are blooming.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Do you prefer the beauty of cultivated beds of spring flowers, or the surprise of bulbs springing up in unexpected places?   Why?
  2. What assures you that not every week in May will be chill and rainy?

Next Week: TBA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#100 – Winter and Spring

Last weekend, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons washed over us as violinist Nikki Chooi and the K-W Symphony put on an amazing performance at Kitchener’s Centre in the Square.

The only thing missing was the scenery Sam and I see in all seasons on countryside drives, as we listen to a CD of The Four Seasons.

As a followup to hearing The Four Seasons live, I decided to choose a favorite winter and a favorite spring photo of Sam’s, representing the season we’d so like to leave behind, and the one we’re anticipating.

February-2017The winter photo I chose didn’t require driving into the countryside – just walking a few steps into my study. Taken  just after 7 a.m. one morning  in February 2015, it features the lights leading to Rockway Gardens in the foreground and the trees and snow of the golf course in the middle ground. In the distance are the  expressway (and other) lights, Mt. Trashmore (reclaimed garbage dump), the red Staples sign and more.

It is my favorite winter scene. I love seeing the city wake up.  All seems right with the world, somehow – even with traffic on the expressway.

Peaks-of-Otter A favorite spring picture taken by Sam is harder to identify. There are so many to choose from. I’m drawn to photos taken south of the border, remembering how we loved to drive to Pennsylvania in early April, when vestiges of winter hung on in Ontario.  This photo comes from further south, showing the rustic Peaks of Otter Lodge in Virginia in the 1990’s.  We’ve stayed there and enjoyed the restaurant and the grounds at least three times, usually  in spring.

Both music and experiencing the seasons nourish and invigorate my spirit.  Putting them together is wonderful!

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Does music nourish and invigorate your spirit?  Does the change of seasons nourish your spirit?
  2. If they both nourish your spirit,  how do you put them together?

* * * * *

Today I’m posting Blog #100!  Initially I planned for 70 blogs, but was unable to stop. I hope to continue to post more blogs, but I may need to skip a week now and then, given the vagaries of cancer.

Thank you, readers,  for your thoughtful feedback and for the way different ones of you have held particular blogs in your heart.

The act of writing this blog nourishes me. So do you the readers.

Next week: Mind-Changing Books of Childhood

 

 

 

#47 – Paying Attention: Tapped Maples and Orange Evergreens

One of my spiritual disciplines this Lent is simply to be present – to see, hear and pay attention to what’s right in front of me.

Here in Ontario, we enjoyed a stretch of three consecutive warm sunny days before our latest snowfall  (minor in our city, major in many other places).

I decided to use that spring-like window to pay attention to all the signs of spring I could find on my morning walks and in two drives out into the country.

Pansies

On my morning walks through Rockway Gardens and environs, I hoped to glimpse some snowdrops. I didn’t find any, but I discovered one bed of pansies with green leaves and a few brave blue/violet flowers.

I watched a squirrel rushing across the grass and up a tree trunk. I listened to a chatty bunch of LBB’s (little brown birds). I noticed lots of dogs being walked, strollers parked in driveways, a young boy riding a tricycle, and a basketball placed near a net on a front lawn. Trash previously covered by snow skittered across lawns and streets in the wind. And a winter’s worth of cigarette butts littered the ground near the side door of an office building.

St-Jacobs-Dam

Our drives showed us the Conestogo River running high near the St. Jacobs dam, and the soil turned over in various fields. We passed many buggies filled with Old Order folks taking advantage of the relative warmth to conduct business or go visiting.

But perhaps the surest signs of spring came with the blue pails attached to maple trees in small burgs like Hawkesville and in sugar bushes all over the countryside. As Sam got close to snap a photo, he heard the sap running fast.

Tapping-the-tree

Of course the serious potholes on unpaved country roads also heralded the spring!

Potholes

Early signs of spring  – even potholes! – nourish my spirit and hold out the promise of new growth and hope. A hymn we sang in church last Sunday invites God to “alert our hearts to apprehend the silent witnesses you send” (From “O God of mystery and might” in Hymnal: A Worship Book #130).

Shoots of spring bulbs are silent witnesses from nature which speak loudly and hopefully to my inner spirit.

 

Green-shoots

As Richard Rohr puts it in a recent post: “Every day we have opportunities to reconnect with God through an encounter with nature, whether an ordinary sunrise, a starling on a power line, a tree in a park, or a cloud in the sky. This spirituality …almost entirely depends on our capacity for simple presence…” (Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation, March 6, 2018).

Recently I’ve been sitting in my 10th floor study for 15 minutes each morning watching the light increase. Or, if I’m not early enough for that, I time my morning pause to overlap with Golden-Hourthe golden hour – when the low rays of the sun reflect off an apartment complex in the near distance or temporarily color the evergreens orange.

The effect of the sun at this time of day always leads me to worship. As the Psalmist writes:

The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.

There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world…. Psalm 19 v. 1-4 , NRSV

I can almost imagine those sun-drenched trees and buildings worshiping too! (See my blog post #9, Welcoming the Dawn).

Question for Reflection:

What early signs of spring have you seen (perhaps between snowstorms!) in recent weeks? How has your spirit responded?

Next Week: Music for Lent