Friday, April 24, 2009

South Dakota Spring

All throughout the Black Hills this morning was heard a mournful wail: "Noooooooooooooooooo!" That was me, raising the rollshades in my bedroom, only to see my newly-greened lawn covered in fresh snow. Just yesterday I had read out in the backyard, lounging on a lawn chair, in shorts and sleeveless top. I'd actually pulled the chair into the shade 'cause the sun was too hot!

I threw on a bathrobe and raced outside to check on my daffodils. Made several trips to cut a couple dozen of them for a huge bouquet, trying to save as many as I could, yet not wanting to strip the bed entirely in case they could survive . . .

Later, when the snow slowed, I went out and tapped the snow off each of the remaining blooms--another couple dozen.

I know they are just flowers. I know the weather will eventually warm. I know many people are suffering right now from far worse than a spring snow and the possible loss of a few flowers.

But for me, today, my efforts to save these beauties help me feel hopeful about the nearing end of a long winter, not just in my town, but in my heart and soul.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hold on to Hope

My heart is overflowing right now. My morning was filled with the sweetness of seeing progress in a personal relationship. That joy was tempered this afternoon by news of a suicide. A dear young woman who sponsors an artists' blog (ThursdaySweetTreat) shared on that site the loss of a family member. Comments on the site offered comfort, also revealing how many of them had also been touched by "the echoes of suicide."

My desire here is to reach out to anyone struggling, either with their own thoughts of suicide, or in the aftermath of someone else's attempt or successful act. Whoever you are, know that you are loved. I send my love out to you right now, right here.

I'm sharing some photos of my flowers here. That might seem silly at first. But we've had a really harsh winter, and I would have expected these little guys to have given up. But they didn't. Today was the first day they finally bloomed. Let their persistent beauty wrap you in the warmth of love, in hope, in the promise of a brighter day.

Hang on. I love you.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hello world

Good morning, world! When I sat down at my laptop just now, I thought I was just checking a few sites . . . had no overt intention to post anything new here . . . nothing specifically gnawing at me, nothing pressing to be thought about. Now that's not to say if you checked my journals, that you wouldn't find me still in the midst of tremendous transition and growth, accompanied by messy and noisy growing pains.

It's just that right now, this morning, this hour, this minute, is an oasis of calm. True, several tasks lie ahead the next few days, filling many of the hours. A handful of "big" things still need my thought and ultimate decision. A couple problems persist, needing fairly immediate resolutions. The landscape of my personal relationships still rumbles and roils around me, a raw and uncharted wilderness.

And yet.

Right here, right now, under my skin lies contentment. A soft smile curves my lips. Rain that fell here in the foothills last night lies now on Crow Peak as yet another layer of fresh snow. Mist that shrouded the hills surrounding town now dances solo across the western horizon. I've just stepped outside to check on my flowers. They are not letting the current coolness halt their growth. They have not surrendered to this winter's record-breaking harshness. They are insisting that the process of bud and bloom must survive even the most inhospitable environment.

I join my gentle teachers in their dance of persistent joy.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I WILL bloom . . .

Headlines in our local paper declare that we've broken a decades-old record for snowfall--120 inches so far. Some knee-deep drifts are still melting, all the while temp signs in town today read 70 degrees.

Several weeks ago I spied 2-inch-high sprouts in my flower bed. "Go back," I warned. "Go back!" Heavy snow was forecast. But those little guys didn't listen to me and my fear. They were too intent on growing. Now, the last few days of sun has finally melted away most of the several feet of snow that had buried my little buddies and they looked none the worse for the snowy assault they'd survived. Yesterday I oh-so-delicately shoveled away the last piles of snow at the end of the bed, uncovering a tangle of smooshed leaves and stalks. Oh dear. I figured that losing only these few plants was a pretty good turnout for the severe winter.

But then I happened to glance at the flower bed a few hours later. Right where broken leaves and bent stalks had lain, I saw upright plants--I could almost hear "Ta-Da . . . we MADE it!!"

When we are designed to grow, and not merely grow but bud and blossom, that imperative carries us through the coldest, harshest times.

I'm following the lead of my daffodil buddies and hollering, "Ta-Da . .. I made it!"

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Fresh Start

Had to post a follow-up to last night's musings. Rough rest of the night, sort of. Rough in that I couldn't fall asleep until past 2am. Sort of in that I prayed throughout the night and listened to hymns, all as oh-so-gently guided by the God Whose very name is Love. Climbed out of bed around 10am with a heart sweetly refreshed and comforted. Looked at the results of the watercolor splashings done just before bedtime and was surprised all over again.

Surprised because last night, I'd been happy I responded to the urge to do SOMETHING artistic to combat the blues, but disappointed that the watercolor hadn't turned out as I'd hoped. Surprised because evidently I had forgotten how much watercolor changes as it dries. REALLY surprised that I forgot this element, since that has always been part of that medium's appeal for me--that the artist can do her part in laying on the colors and choosing what paper or other surface and how much water to use and when, but that the colors and water and surface make the final decision as they dry and integrate with each other. This morning I saw lovely shadings and subtle variations where, last night, only puddles had rested. I was also delighted to find the picture I'd painted AFTER splashing on the journal pages--which I'd painted because it felt so good I just couldn't stop.

So, as tears dried throughout the night, so did the watercolors. This morning I could scratch out my thoughts on top this loveliness and be reminded all over again that I AM an artist. God made me that way. God has equipped me with all I need to express myself, in words and colors, in thoughts and actions. Heartdeep thanks to my Creator, and to my daughter for sharing, a few days earlier, her efforts to turn to the play with and production of art when she needs to shake herself loose from inertia.

Friday, April 3, 2009

late at night

I just composed a fairly lengthy entry . . . and for the first time since I started blogging in January, it would not post and was lost. Oddly, or perhaps not so oddly, I had questioned from the beginning whether or not I should publish that post. I guess that decision was taken out of my hands.

I'm not gonna try to re-create the entry. Instead, I'll trust that the sadness in it was NOT meant to be given any more air time.

I'll do what I had decided to do at the end of the post, and follow the example of my daughter and rouse myself from whatever I'm currently mired in via involvement in something artistic: before heading to bed, I'm gonna slosh some swipes of watercolor over the next open pages in my journal. Then, tomorrow morning, when I get ready to write, beautiful color will underlay whatever I say.