Tag Archives: contemplation

raves and realizations

I’ve been reading over at Megan’s site this morning. Her moniker is FriedOkra, which, of course, I love.  And I love fried okra, not the “sit in steam pan, in the meat and three” kind, but the “hot out of the grease, heaven, but you might burn and not feel your finger tips, for a while” kind. Megan’s words are equally as satisfying… and I know my mind was HS seared as I read them. I could think of nothing intelligent to say in response, so I just said something not intelligent, but really heartfelt.

BTW, my daughter, Molly, a 13-year-old, Paula Deen want to be, whom I graciously let practice every dang night…(I have cooked 3-4 meals a day for us 6 forever and we had 3 restaurants for 14 years, I’ve earned it people) is a master okra fryer. Yes, yes she is. That alone commands a high dang dowry in this neck of the woods. So, to my thinking, Molly’s marrying and my financial future is pretty well in hand. What was I saying?

Oh, Megan’s blog. I read it this morning. She is friends with Leigh, my flesh and blood buddy, who is a real writer. Those two and several other of the greatest talents and hearts out there in Blessed Blog World managed a bonafide get together at the lake. You can imagine the magic of that intersection. Well, if you can’t, Megan so richly renders it out, in oils…and people, it is so dang beautiful, to see what she saw. The Holy Spirit’s help is all over what she shares with us.

As a small aside, (Don’t get side-tracked by my tale, Go read the post!) Jeremy has dubbed me the official Reflector of our merry band. We do things: deeply spiritual things, daring things, dang near crazy things…and it’s my job to help us know what happened.

The present moves so swiftly. I thought about that as I read Megan’s post. I wondered if she registered all she wrote about as it went down, or if she, like me, saw it out the proverbial back window – think 1970’s station wagon and that backward facing waaay back seat. I spent some time there.  Scarred/imprinted me for life, take your pick.

One of the things I too have discovered from the Contemplatives’ wisdom is that life can be appreciated best in that back seat. The Holy Spirit shows us little in the present, the future is a foggy land. But, the past is His playground. He helps me see more…And, those of us willing to sit in that waaay back,  we get to look at life lived  longer than the souls up front, facing forward and all. We get to watch it a while, in what might as well be slow motion.

So, instead of despising my own youth, I am trying to learn from that perspective which I was given. Nausea and gifts don’t seem to go together, but then when one takes into account pregnancy – well, that pretty much makes my case. So, I am climbing on back, picking up my pen and watching the Holy Ghost Slow-Mo, the way Megan’s does with such acuity here: (Don’t forget to go there!) There will be a quiz, students.

Back to my job as Chief Reflector.  I go with us…and heck yes, I participate. One can’t catch much in the moment. It’s not like photography. I ride the rapids, fly through the trees, and play the parental, “No you cannot jump from thirty feet in that tree rising 100 into the jungle canopy down into this black river that might be 20 feet deep in a crevice-like channel, even if the natives, who do not speak our language save Hollywood heroes’ names, are waving you on down. I promised your parents to watch after you.”

Anyway, my job is to watch out the back window, rewind the movies, see it all again, slowed enough for the sweet we gulped to settle on my tongue, and write with the best words I can. I’ve written accounts of Costa’s Rica’s breath-catching glory swallowing us like a dream. We have yet to escape it. I’ve no eyelid who would dare lift to do so. I’ve written of nightmare in Mexico – where God walked close to us, His breath heavy and audible… I’ve written of camp outs and early morning manuevers. I’ve written and written and written and done no justice to any of the brutiful glory that was. But sometimes, something I write cues a memory of life not chronicled with photo or that wasn’t even recognized as it occurred… and for another soul, the memory movie plays over through the dusty but familiar back glass window; and they see it, feel it and know deeply that it is, always is, too.

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Persimmon

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As I  strolled around the lake, I came upon a persimmon tree all weighted down with waxy, scarlet fruit. The just ripening persimmons clung to their stems. The ground beneath the limbs was still clean; any fallen fruit had been gathered by the deer that too freely roam the property. Each brilliant, slightly firm persimmon fruit was unbearably beautiful.

I picked one of the autumnal attired apricots and broke open its skin.  Seeds, dark and woody, guarded by a filmy shield, stood out against the plum-like flesh.

My children wanted to take the seeds home, dry them and plant them. I thought of our merciless soil. I knew no persimmon could abide that soil.  But, I humored their request and washed and wrapped a few for ferrying home.

When we were not too far down the road, my mother called, we had forsaken our seeds, left them on the countertop. The kids gave no redress to my suggestion that Mama keep them, drying,  until we returned in November. I drove on, still thinking about the persimmons.

There are no Persimmon in my new world. No acrid Quince, no wormy Apple, no Pear – not that produce anything edible, no messy Cherry, no bee attracting Fig, no switch producing Peach, heck, no Redbud – the kids asked me about their strange seed-pods which we once dispersed like the other animals as we played. None of those are my neighbors.

I miss my home: the bulbs that return every year, it’s nearly time to split and replant them, that would be my job ’bout now. I miss the the zinias and roses that are faithfully laying down. I pain for the Verbena and Ageratum standing strong for the butterflies last fill-up, for all the flowering things shining their last shine, frost is coming soon enough. I miss my shrubs, now nearly trees: Elsie’s Snowball and Wild Azalea that Daddy dug from the woods at the lake, Motnie’s Camelias which I brought back in buckets and  Nana’s Sweetheart Rose, now big as a Volkwagon bug. I miss our Magnolia and my Pecan and the once Christmas Cedar, the good for climbing White Pine, the lookout post Redbud and our popsicle eating perch, the Dogwood.

I forget how very rich …until I return and remember. And my heart laments what I have left…

As we marched round the water, our one quick time, we wove through towering willows I once bounced and flipped beneath, swinging up my legs and pulling hard against fist fulls of the willow’s long shaggy locks. And as we grew silent, our circuit nearly over, we heard the hushed crunching of leaves which lay on layer after layer of long fallen friends.

It gets harder and harder to leave.

The persimmons probably started letting go today.

I don’t think I ever will.

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Monday, I start the exercises.

No, not exercising my body, though I desperately need to get back on some schedule for such. Monday, I will begin the Ignatius Sacred Listening exercises. It takes months to work through them. Occasionally, I will forward some of my “exercise” journals this way. Mostly, I will not. I have several summer writing projects, again not suitable for this venue. I will try to write once  a week here,  to keep communication lines open with those of you who read rather regularly. But, I’ll still be dropping by to read those of yours who are writing.

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