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Clusters of plump red berries, the autumn fruit of Missouri Honeysuckle bushes (Lonicera maackii), red-flag the attention of environmentalists. These berries, of no nutritional value, attract birds that either ingest them or drop them on the ground to be reseeded for the next season.

Originally planted in gardens as a border shrub, the Missouri Honeysuckle has become a nuisance. Its aggressive growth chokes out other native plants around them and infests easements, forest floors, and creek bottoms making them impassable for hikers and hunters. Utility workers have labored for hours to free up their lines.

Brush cutters, chainsaws, or hand tools, together with applications of herbicides are the only effective means to eliminate these bushes that can grow up to twenty feet tall.

The untrammeled growth of Missouri Honeysuckle bushes, I used to note during walks, still gives me pause—a prodigious greening power that kills life around it. Obvious parallels with bacterial infections, including Covid, come to mind. However, lesser ones, like unconscious rituals, unthinkingly practiced for decades, can be just as deeply rooted and harmful. On the surface, like the glistening red berries on the Missouri Honeysuckle, everything looks proper, but a closer inspection reveals shallow thinking and skewed choices that produce turmoil and confusion.

Reliance upon the power of God can eliminate such infringements into our psyches and enable us to walk unencumbered into the Light: streaming into our senses and ordering our sense of on-going creation.

I can’t do this anymore! I admitted to myself, gripping my cane. Like stricken puppies, my legs, refused to move, despite my commanding them to do so. I was beached, immobile, furious, a storm crashing within me.

I had already checked into the YMCA, was sucking a lemon cough drip, and was standing at my usual start position by the entrance. Ahead of me stretched the wide corridor; its recessed lighting reflecting upon the floor had helped me maintain balance the four months I’d been coming here. My helper waited for me to begin my customary walk toward the gym and the exercise room, her shadowing each step lest I fall.

That was three days ago, an experience that left me floundering in self-pity, one of the faces of grief.

It’s all about acceptance: my terminal illness has taken another hit—and there have been many—but not as pronounced as this one: Weakness like I’ve never experienced, shortness of breath that worsens speech production, and muscle loss that rouses issues of disease gnawing away at my body, despite still eating full meals prepared by helpers or brought by friends.

Yes, there’s change. Rather than use my cane, I rely upon my wheeled walker to get about—It’s slower but still works. Happily, I’m still able to blog the ongoing experience of my terminal illness, and if appropriate, I will return to the Y’s NuStep and exercise my legs—not to walk as before, of course, but to keep going, one day at a time with Precious God’s help. Besides, I’ve friends there.

At 1:15 A.M., I awoke with this lovely dream:

Sunshine swelled four yellow rosebuds atop a barren hill, still captive to freezing rains. Sandaled toddlers crouched around the plants, tentatively touched the petals, and giggled.

As I recorded the dream by my nightstand, deep smiles warmed my psyche—evidence, within, that all is well, despite increasing symptoms of my terminal illness, despite deepening global confusion over vaccines, masking, spread of disease.

Sunshine, always an empowerment of Truth, makes clear the imprecise, reveals hidden shit-abysses, and warms chilled fingers and toes. Under its influence, every cell flushes with total well-being; flagging energies perk up like blustery winds snapping sails of frigates.

The yellow color of the rosebuds suggests joy, illumination, dissemination, intuition, intellect, and magnanimity and further weights the image of the rosebuds with Sacred significance.

The four rosebuds also speak of quaternity or ultimate wholeness: it establishes an indelible presence to counter our politically divided world, the barren hill in the dream, tangled within social media—as does Dante’s White Rose symbolize the concentric spheres of The Paradiso (1320), among the fractious Guelph and Ghibelline parties in Italy.

And of course, toddlers, the lowly of heart of any age, are drawn to such play. They know how to pause and wonder, having found comparable images within.

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