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It is happening again—outside my study window.

 

Like hard hats, nubs tip the branches of my old lilac bush, caught up in the play of trickster winds. Over the winter months, the nubs appeared dormant, as if pondering their eventual flourishing. Overcast skies, drenching rains, and bone-chilling temperatures imprisoned them in darkness.

But not so this morning—there is a change: the swollen nubs are splitting apart; beneath the shriveled skins glimmer a new green as if hesitant to trumpet the earth’s warming. Such coloring stirs memories of other spring-watchings that unfolded like gyrating clowns tooting horns and clanging cymbals.

Like the bud, the terminal illness in my body is splitting open colorful vistas for further exploration: dreams, significant reading, stillness, contemplative prayer, substantive phone contacts, and writing. New lessons swell my spirit and keep it fresh: gentling my body with its symptoms, accepting the inevitability of my swelling and shriveling, waiting for inner nudges to embrace the next right step.

Interludes of angst also occur, and I know to be still with them as they do pass.

More than ever, my spirit seeks an increasing solitude within my body’s womb-like darkness: therein, to remember, to pray, to forgive, to give thanks, and to embrace the Unknown. The gift of another twenty-four hours for these endeavors helps.

Admittedly the richest time in my life, this new coloring is working out as I await my transition, whenever, however…

 

 

It was clearly my intent to honor my fatigue and cut back on the frequency of my blogs, but my Dreamer had other designs. At 1:30 a.m., this dream pulled me from deep sleep; it would be worked with. Since it’s about obedience of the heart, here goes:

 I’m at the airport. In a bin, I spot a large plastic sack filled with multi-colored crocheted yarn squares that the deceased Betty Savard had worked on, intending to join them into an afghan. I retrieve the sack and will restore it to her family.

 Airports suggest places of departure and certainly reference my present circumstances: homebound yet on the move, solitary yet with a different orientation to life. In the dream I’ve not boarded my flight, as there is more work to be completed.

The large bin, a container filled with unclaimed odds and ends left behind by other passengers and later found by airport employees, suggests my unconscious. And Betty Savard, a gifted seamstress and friend, was devoted to her life, not without hardships.

My discovery of the multi-colored crocheted yarn squares is the nub of the dream: colorful pieces of my life still to be worked into a new whole. Since I do not know how to crochet, I’ll have to ask for help. And I will …

 

From within summer’s treasures bloom Asiatic lilies: crimsons, salmons, whites, yellows, and golds; their profusion enhances ash pits, garage doors, backyards, as well as formal gardens. Atop stalks, sometimes over five feet tall, stamens and pistils strut their stuff within six-petelled blossoms—their blatant sexuality preening under the sun. Unlike other flowering shrubs and plants, their showing lasts for weeks.

I’m always stunned by the perfection of Asiatic lilies: the symmetry of their waxy petals, their unified whole, their coloring, and especially their pulsating energy. Never can I walk past a cluster of them without touching and smelling. Joy wells from my depths.

Such vibrant beauty recalls the aesthetics of John Ruskin, a British art critic and watercolorist. He experienced God’s love in the wonders of nature as he traveled around Europe and later developed his findings in five volumes of Modern Painters (1885), seventeen years in their composition. Such findings also fueled his passion for environmental reform caused by smog from factories during the Industrial Revolution. Hazed over was God’s unitive presence in nature—its connection, minimized, snuffed out.

Unfortunately, similar smog still persists. At best, we can keep it at bay through listening, in stillness, to clusters of Asiatic lilies. Be open to their gifts and be renewed.

 

 

 

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