It’s that Joe Pye time again, when my thoughts turn to autumn….ready for more comfortable days and cool nights, clear blue skies, and the summer haze shaken off….my favorite time of year is approaching, and once again I find myself asking, “Where did summer go? It’s almost time for school to start back already.” I do get spring fever after a long winter, but I’m even fonder of “autumn fever,” when I feel energized by not just the weather (after the heat-induced lethargy of summer) but also by the vibrant colors and a dramatic reminder of nature’s beautiful seasons that I can always count on.
Copyright (c) 2015 by Raindrop Ridge Press
Someone mentioned hostas the other day. There’s nothing quite like the lovely, hardy, and hearty hosta. One of my favorites, I have several of them around my yard. They’ll even grow up through gravel! In sun, in shade, with care, or left to its own devices, it has to be one of the most cooperative and gardener-friendly plants ever, and one of those dependable signs I rely on from nature to herald the coming of a new season. Don’t you love it?
copyright (c) 2015 by Raindrop Ridge Press
Today is Father’s Day and I’m thinking about my dad and missing him. I’ve written a lot about him in the past, lessons he taught me, his garden, his generosity, his love for his family, his strength. I’ve written about his death and those last days. Sometimes life is just bittersweet and today is one of those times. Following is something I wrote 3 years ago, a year after he died.
My dad is gone, but his presence is still very much felt in his garden space. He loved the forsythia when they grew out in weird shapes and really disliked them being trimmed all nice and neat. I’m the same way. I guess in more than one sense I’m the same way – I agree with him about the forsythia bushes, but also just let me grow out in my own “weird shape” and not be all nice and neat and conforming to everyone else around here. I’ve referred to myself more than once as the black sheep of my family and of my community. Maybe another analogy would be I’m the freely growing forsythia.
I originally wrote this brief tribute to my dad back in March 2011. I’m sad to say the forsythia is now gone. My mom sold the lot that was my dad’s garden space. She could no longer take care of it and it was growing up in weeds and brush. Her neighbor bought it and he cut down the big beautiful forsythia. Life is truly about letting go…..but the memories remain.
Papaw, a few things have changed. I have a son-in-law and now a beautiful little granddaughter. She has the sweetest smile. You would love her to pieces just like we all do. I think about you a lot……so many things remind me of you, from silly jokes to the trees and shrubs you help me set out in the yard, to the Atlanta Braves, to my hands and feet and eyes to my kids and mom, to tomatoes and thunderstorms, and to the kind of person I am and try to be. Happy Father’s Day, Papaw! We all love you and miss you every day.
Copyright (c) 2014 by Raindrop Ridge Press
“Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God.”
(Elizabeth Barrett Browning)
The spring and summer bushes of western North Carolina are more pastel than the fiery autumn ones….they’re all lovely and colorful and express the essence of God in their unique ways. I don’t think it’s about one special bush at one special time…..here are just a few I’ve had the pleasure to know, and remember, all ground is holy ground.
Copyright (c) 2013 by Raindrop Ridge Press
updated (c) 2015
School has started, autumn is coming, and once again Nature hasn’t let me down because the Joe Pye weeds are blooming all over the place. It happens every year around this time, and I find that so comforting. Of course, fall is my favorite season, so seeing those blooms along the side of the road gets my heart racing a little bit; there’s even an occasional feeling of fall in the air now, and those are yellow wet leaves I see on the road after the rain today. They call it Joe Pye weed, but to me it’s a beautiful flower, a herald of vibrant leafy colors, cool crisp days, and the clearest of blue skies to come as we move through the wheel of the year. Before you know it, it’ll be sweaters, blankets on the bed at night, and cooking those comforting hot meals that feed body and spirit, as nesting settles in to last throughout the winter. I find the seasons heartwarming in their own ways, even though sometimes a bit harsh, but autumn is my favorite. I’m getting ahead of myself, though. Today, it’s still August, still summer, and I’ll enjoy the beauty of the Joe Pye just when and where I see it. For that, I’m grateful.
Copyright (c) 2012 by Raindrop Ridge Press