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Summer’s brazenness fleshes out in marigolds—reds, oranges, golds, and yellows—drought-resistant annuals that have brightened my front garden for years. With proper care, a single bloom can last for several days boasting in the sun; its inevitable shriveling and browning slows down its gossip until silenced by pruning shears: Snip-snip-snip. Within a few days, more buds jostle in breezes until full flowering picks up July’s chuckles and their chatter resumes.

Taught by gardeners to angle my shears for strategic cuts, I snipped away, summer after summer, tingling with creative energy as new shapes appeared among the plants, soon to plump out with buds. But my present circumstances have led me to put away my shears and let another help with the marigolds. I’m grateful.

My own pruning is well underway, and I live within the shorn limits of my eighty-four years; within them, I continue flourishing, not without occasional squalls of fear: eruption of new symptoms from Dexamethasone, the correction of dark dreams, episodes of nausea, spills, and so much more—all of which prompt me to ask for help, critical for the continuing effectiveness of the pruning. How else learn about humility?

Such deepens my faith in the Master Gardiner who reminds us in John 15:2 that Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.

It is for this fruit that I yearn.


It finally happened! Yesterday, two speckled white eggs filled the nest outside my study window; in their place today, bob three naked chicks patched with gray down, their yellow beaks splitting with hunger, awaiting insects caught by their cardinal father; their mother keeps guard on a lower branch of the viburnum shrub, the afternoon sun shadowing its green leaves. For the next two weeks, frequent feedings will feather out the chicks and enable them to eat parts of berries or seeds softened by their parents.

Similar drama is enacted all over the world, the replication of the Genesis story: On day five, God created every winged bird…blessing them to multiply and fill the waters and the sky with life. It is precisely this unbroken chain of life that heartens the weary. Often when I used to walk in the nearby woods, a bird trill would seize my imagination and transport me to the wordless realm of the Sacred. A later blog told the story.

Never before this cardinal family appeared in my viburnum shrub, had I observed their instinctual caring, how it fosters fresh life with darting colors. It’s like Creator God orchestrated this event for up-close learning in my present circumstances—A more than timely lesson for me to assimilate.

And if Creator God set all this in motion what have we to fear?


Sun pierces racing clouds, casting phantoms on the seascape.

Brace Rock, resembling a dusky pachyderm, snoozes in the morning heat, its humps whitened by decades of excrement.

Upon them strut crowds of gulls, honking into the fly-space above them.

Others pump their wings

catch columns of wind

glide in somersaults and pinwheels.

Like cobra helicopters, twin ravens pan the boulder-strewn shore.

Surf-bubbles frolic among sandpipers and skitter around brackish seaweed teeming with mosquitoes.

Nearby, splashy quilts of wild grasses and sumac enliven bronzed rocks.

A solitary honey bee suns upon the breast of a goldenrod spear.

A rare Monarch butterfly collapses its circus wings and alights on the tip of purple loose strife.

A cobalt sky smiles upon this riotous foreplay.

Time hangs suspended upon boney and gossamer wings.

Within this jeweled kaleidoscope, an unseen power reveals her Soul.

photo credit: rogiro via photo pin cc

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