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Beauty’s imprint upon the imagination unleashes streams of shimmering lights: wordless joys that warm chilled places.

Such is my experience as I gaze out my study window that frames the Summer Snowflake Viburnum shrub: Even its name, a juxtaposition that enlarges its reality, draws smiles.

This is the sixth spring that I’ve been companioned by its serrated green leaves and showy blossoms upon pagoda-like branches. I marvel at its prodigious growth, originally a spindly trunk about three feet tall. Two hot summers required soaker hosings to keep it alive, together with our conversations about surviving. Given my health issues, I never knew if I’d see another spring. Our preening in the sun must have worked.


The sudden drop in energy felt like a freight elevator in free fall: I could not inhale.

Slowly, I lowered myself upon the kitchen stool and took stock: I was on E, for empty, my brain feathery, my breathing flailing against my chest wall. Ashen whiteness eclipsed my thoughts and feelings. Then, the distress stopped. I inhaled, sipped water from my cup, and caught my neighbor’s flowering red-bud tree outside my window, its frothy pinkness the epitome of String’s effervescence.

More evidence of my lungs’ diminished functioning gave me pause. True, I’d cut back on the dose of Dexamethasone, but with that correction, my limited world was joggled back to life. Again, I could access words, the building blocks of psychic growth: without them, I am lost.

As with any terminal illness, mine teaches vital lessons of trust, each twenty-four hours allotted me. I had no say in the circumstances that birthed me over eighty-four years ago, and I’ve none as to when I leave. Death in my body will occur when it will.

So this episode in my kitchen is just another, and not that important to get worked up about. In time, this will change, and such a change it will be.

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for them that love him… (I Cor 2:9)

Such has been promised to us …


March’s sunrays play the trickster, intent upon teasing buds erupting from rough canes of the forsythia bush next to my porch. For five springs I have gloried in its abrupt flowering, fingered its yellow bell-shaped blossoms, studied its rain-soaked pendant shapes shielding reproductive parts, sorrowed over storms splatting spent yellows within pools of mud, and noted its fruit: several winged seeds in dry capsules.

Such was also my experience encountering tangled mounds of forsythia bushes in the nearby woods: their color wafting me to a wordless realm, their untidiness transporting me to a strange order that made total sense.

Yet, the process of unfolding happened too quickly, multiple lessons held over to the following year, if I remembered … Perhaps this year will be different.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

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