Life … unfurls

There is a right time for everything” (Ecclesiastes 3 v 10 TLB)

“Where did you come from?”, I said to the fern that had ‘appeared’ one day in the shade at the back of my garden. I have a small garden, thoughtfully planted, packed full with flowers, vegetables, an apple tree, a wildlife pond. I know all the flora and fauna residents. I smile at the slow firework display as it changes through the months and seasons. I did not plant the fern. It was not there when I moved in a few years ago. But here it was, leaning against the back fence.

But I have come to love this elegant resident, growing in the shadows. All winter she curls her head and arms in a cozy ball, like a hibernating hedgehog. She rests through the short days and frosty nights. Then in spring she slowly unfurls, gracefully reaching for the sky. The happy daisies on the lawn pop and burst on the scene; smiling from early morning until they withdraw tired and sleepy at dusk. The fern holds her posture and rests in the moonlight.

The fern reminds me that life… unfurls. If I tried to hurry her on, I would damage her and miss the moments of her growth. Miss to notice each meaningful stage. There is a pressure to rush through key life events: growing up, relationships, children, loss of those we love. Each day can be a race to the end. Each month, year a receding to-do list. I am learning that ‘There is a right time for everything” (Ecclesiastes 3 v 10, TLB). Often I am not sure when this is, but if I walk it through, stop and stare, let things grow in their time, I may slow my heart to His time, the right time. And all may not be over, but it will be well.

Hideaway Realm

 

There is a woodland walk that I know
Where sylvan springtime flowers grow.
Not many know the trail that is there,
So I slip in secretly, to listen and stare.

I gaze at the bluebells with heads that bow low
To tiny star speedwell, so far below.
See the pink Lady’s Smock as she blushes and weaves
Through sleek emerald grasses with elegant ease.

I find where the crowds of sweet celandines flow,
Like May time buttercups that shimmer and glow.
Through leaves high above I see the warm sunlight glance
Then shine on the moss where the wood fairies dance. 

I hear the bumble bee humming as she wanders a- pace
Seeking and searching a new dwelling place.
While above in the rafters a sweet melody lingers
Of robin and blackbirds – the most joyful of singers!

So I wander and wonder as if in a dream,
Peaceful and rested in this cavern of green.
My heart slows to the tempo of beach, oak and elm
In this gentlest of greenwood, this hideaway realm.

 

My Dad 21 12 37 – 04 04 20

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On Saturday 4th April my lovely Dad, John Ball, died of Covid 19.  He had Alzeimher’s and was in residential care.  A stroke in late March saw him admitted to hospital, where he contracted Coronovirus.  We could not be there with him through all this due to lock down.  I could not be there with him at the end.

The day before he died I was woken by a tune in my head, Ashoken Farewell.  On reflection it seems I was being prepared for his leaving.  As I prayed for his healing or departure, I listened to this haunting tune.  I looked through my bedroom window at the white clouds in the April sky.  One cloud was brightly highlighted with gold.  I saw Dad in a bright place, and Mum coming towards him.  They kissed and embraced.

I have been lost in sadness.  Good days and really awful days.  The good days seem to be getting more.  With the help of W.H. Auden I am trying to capture my sadness at his leaving and some cherished memories.

 

Funeral Blues – Farewell Dad

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,

Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,

Silence the pianos and with a muffled drum

Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

 

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead

Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead,

Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,

Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

 

He was my Dad, my Father and my friend;

A gentle man, a kind and caring blend.

He loved a stroll, a chat, a rousing song.

I thought he’d last forever.  I was wrong.

 

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one,

Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,

Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood,

For nothing now can ever come to any good.

 

Yet in my broken heart you will live on,

Your sunny smile, your serenade in song.

You take my hand, look in my eyes, and say,

‘I love you, love’, and that’s enough today.

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “My Dad 21 12 37 – 04 04 20”

The Peace of the Wild Things – Weldell Berry

A friend has sent me this poem and it has spoken to my soul.  This world has never really made much sense to me.  I live much of my life travelling in opposite direction of where I want to be.

“Where do you want to be?” you may ask.

Far away from cities and tarmac and roads and concrete and lights.  Far away ….where the skies are clear and the noise of the day and night is rushing water and birdsong.

Once I lived in the middle of a city,  suffocating.  I would head off to the hills and mountains, to gaze at the estuary, the rolling hills, the farmlands, the forest climbing up nearby hills.

Now I live out of town, walking distance of local farms.  Once it was marshlands and so the fields have waterways cut into them, reens, that channel overflow water to the nearby sea.  I walk there at all times of the day and in all weather….and I notice.

I notice the songs of the birds, the swish of wind through the oak trees, the splash of water through the sluice.  The plop of the frogs, the shadowy outline of the resting pike, the swarming of minnows.  The elegant flight of the gentleman heron, the leaping chase of the young fox cubs, the high tree runways of erratic squirrels.  The lone sentinel daffodils, the cheerful crowd of violets, the emerald green moss creeping on a stump.

But mostly I notice the light.  It crowns this sacred  place.  The oak leaning over the reen like a wise old fishing man has a golden silhouette.  The clear skin of the gentle waters sparkle with diamonds.  The feathery seed plumes simple reeds sway like the ostrich feather fascinators of the flapper dancers.

It is my ‘go to’ place for peace, but it is not mine.  I do not and will not call it mine.  It is more than me.  It is ‘farther up and farther in’ and can never be contained.  It’s gift to me is as gentle and fluid as the passing of sand through my fingers.  So I hide this place in my heart.  And when I cannot be there, I still my heart…. and ‘come into the peace of the wild things’.

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Hope

Here is a favourite of mine. It speaks to me of hope. By Nasim Hikmet, from Poems to Pirayé (his wife) from prison.

The best sea: has yet to be crossed.
The best child: has yet to be born.
The best days: have yet to be lived;
and the best word that I wanted to say to you
is the word that I have not yet said.

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When it seems misty

4D5376AC-0F20-4766-9EE4-7FEADF68E70D.jpegOn my way to Llandudno. Misty, moisty, morning. Mist rising from fields, draped on trees. It is mysteriously beautiful. I know this route so well, but hard to tell where I am.

I sometimes feel like this.

Trust Him. He will be like Shasta’s companion on the lonely, misty mountain to Archenland. He will gently walk by you all the way, keeping you company, keeping you safe. A gentle stretch of our faith. He will not let you go. And we know from experience that when this most lifts, it’ll be a bright and uplifting day and we will bask in the blue sky and sunshine.

‘Trust and obey,

for there’s no other way,

to be happy in Jesus,

just to trust and obey.’

A mind of it’s own

Heard it said that the heart has a mind of its own.  Sounds paradoxical.  Mind is logical, unfeeling.  Heart is feeling, not analytical.  Two different places in me.

But I don’t think I can separate either.  My decisions are a head thing that is guided by my heart; my feelings are a heart thing that are actioned by my mind.

Guess the heart has a mind of its own and the mind has a heart of its own.

Or is it that they work in tandem?  A decision made without consulting the heart may seem brutal.  A feeling that overflows without reason can seem excessive.

Perhaps the threefold chord is needed.   A mind and heart ruled not by themselves, but by the Holy Spirit.  Saves me from uncaring logic and unrestrained sentimentality.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Guard your heart for out of it come the well spring of life.  Renew the spirit of my mind.

A journey shared …

Went on a bike ride Saturday.  It was fun.  Wind was hard.  Weather cold.  But good to be out in fresh air and seeing nature.  Just me, my bike, my thoughts.

Went on a bike ride today.  Same route.  This time with my best friend.  No wind.  Cold and frosty.  Good to be out in fresh air and seeing nature.  Better to be sharing my thoughts with another.  It was interesting to see things from their perspective.

Made me think about how journeys are better when you can share them.  May not be talking all the time.  May be just wheeling along.  But its fun to slipstream someone when you are tired; confirm a route when you are unsure; share a smile, a view, a drink.

Think God likes me to walk with Him like this.  Sometimes I can hear Him clearly.  Sometimes I slip stream and He takes the strain.  Sometimes I just feel His smile.

What I love is that He is less interested in the destination, than the fun of the journey and sharing thoughts, insights and smiles with me along the way.