Small Gifts

In the mountains, the wildflowers are sprinkled sparingly here and there. On my morning walks over the past few days, the ones I have spotted have been mostly yellow. They remind me to pay attention and appreciate the little gifts in life that are easily overlooked.

A notable exception to the yellow was the blue beauty pictured below.

Awe and Wonder

I read somewhere that people who garden do so because they love being in the garden. The labor is an excuse to spend time in the midst of beauty.

We never completely tame the garden, although we try. Weeds and slugs battle against our efforts. Sun scorches, wind tangles, drought dries, and deluge drowns. Still, we always come back for more.

I like what I become in the garden. I rediscover awe and wonder at the sight of mysterious growth and new blossoms. I feel close to God in the garden.

I think most gardeners are unconsciously searching for a glimpse of Eden. The curious thing is that, for a moment we actually find it.

Spacing

When our yard was landscaped over a decade ago, the new plants were so small that you could barely see them in the stark expanse of garden rock. Now the plants have matured to the point that the yard almost looks like a desert jungle. But there is still enough space between the plants to present a pleasing appearance.

If you have driven through the Oak Grasslands of California, you have seen my idea of perfect natural spacing. Here and there, the oak trees dot the rolling hills. Somehow they know not to crowd each other. One could easily imagine the Lord strolling through his creation and scattering the acorns that grow into trees. I am reminded of a stanza from “The Spiritual Canticle” by St. John of the Cross:

A thousand graces scattering,
He passed through these groves with haste,
And in gazing at them
With his image alone,
Left them clothed in beauty.

The Beauty of the Cross

A couple of decades ago while on a family visit to Wisconsin, I stumbled upon a lovely crucifix in an antique store. The entire piece is hand-carved from a single piece of olive wood, and it’s only six inches tall. I couldn’t believe my luck when I bought it for a song! Over the years I have owned several crucifixes, but this one has always been my favorite. I marvel at the skill of the unknown artist, but even more at the artist’s obvious love for the Crucified Lord, as demonstrated in the detail and beauty of the carving. I have no idea how old it is. Perhaps the artist is already in heaven, smiling down every time I take it off the wall and hold it in my hands while I say my prayers.

Garden of Art

After we retired, my husband and I discovered that we loved art.  Each piece that we added to our walls added a new dimension of beauty to our lives.

I am attracted to beauty – the beauty of Carmelite spirituality, the inner beauty of the people I love, the beauty of nature and the garden, and last but not least, the beauty of art.  Everything beautiful reminds me of God.  Pictured above are a few of my favorites: “Blue Tutus” by Eric Wallis, “After the Mass” by Chuck Mardosz, “Embudo Bounty” by James Trigg, and “Texas Tapestry” by Eric Michaels.