Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Greater courage

senk 2013
Fronds in the undergrowth of a forest often look like satin apparel. Smooth and shimmering an iridescence of greens, nature's natural style surpasses anything simmering in man's mind. And yet, I wonder if from a bug's perspective, the landscape would appear as Christo and Jeanne-Claude's artwork. Their soft plumes of cloth, sometimes organic, sometimes repetitive gave perspective like the petals, leaves, and berries of nature's silver limbs, stretching as strings or stilts upon which to weave an ephemeral structure.

Christo once commented to critics: "I think it takes much greater courage to create things to be gone than to create things that will remain." And so, too, is it so in nature. In some parts of the world, seasonal rains bring a flourish of flowers that last only a matter of moments when compared to the year (or years) that fall between the lush display. In other parts of the world, the seasons flip through changes in the landscape so that the soul seems to yearn for fluttering green leaves in winter and for the drip of crystalline icicles in summer's strangling smolder.

And, this is so, too, friend, for those beautiful moments in life. When I consider encouraging words, heartfelt expressions, the splendor of happy events, the delicate joy of a child's trusting smile - of all those moments that exude a beauty that bursts into fireworks and is gone - I am reminded of the great courage it takes to recognize and savor those moments, and so, too, to let them go - not with a dismal outlook or regret, but with an inner joy that holds steady.

I wish this for you, friend. May an inner joy carry you from season to season and allow you to savor opportunities, when they do occur, where beauty cannot be bottled up.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Strawberry blossoms

Strawberry blossoms. senk 2013
Strawberry blossoms still linger on the plants near the kids' sand and water table. Most of them are now small ecru-ish green fruits that seem to double in size every time I look at them. And several are blushing under the sun's attentions.

As I dream of strawberry waffles or berry-filled crepes with a sifting of soft sugar, I also consider the aesthetic enjoyment I have had from my plants. So often, we are so focused on the final form or the most emblematic purpose of something, that we forget to look for a spot to sit and simply enjoy the process of "becoming." Now, I'm not talking about sexual beauty. Hollywood and media focus so much on that, it really is quite degrading. In American culture, we too often forget there is a beauty beyond youthful splendor and vigor. There is a beauty that drenches the soul and resonates with those heartfelt realities - like the scintillating laugh of a tickled toddler or the purr-like reflex mumbled while nibbling a well-made meal or the plump tears that tread trails of empathetic emotion from face to face during those numbing life events.

Do you recognize those moments, friend? They're the ones tucked in your memory - maybe swept aside, but not forgotten when we really stop and think. Often, they are jumbled amid the routine of day and tossed here-and-there by time's torrential progression... which makes stopping along the way to savor life's beautiful presence so much more important.

So, friend, find a bench or a stoop or a cozy spot of grass, and savor unrealized moments in your daily life that God has woven there. Dare to really look into the eye of a stranger and proffer a radiant smile; think compassionately before you speak; stifle your own fears and invite someone to walk more slowly and more intentionally with you today. You'll be thankful for the spirit-filled fruits that develop, and so will others.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Spring silhouettes

Silhouette of spring's new fronds.  senk 2013
Mountains, purpled from Winter's frosty touch, now slip root first into woolen frocks that exude Spring. Silvery limbs catch webs of new leaves, which dip and flutter as the breeze pulsates. Spring silhouettes everything - a transformation that runs as deep as soul.

I find myself longing to be drenched in light, too. Like candlelight dribbled for my own shadow portrait, Spring seems to soften features that are glaring in the mirror. But, I want the light to shine deeper, yet. I long to swallow it up so that even my Jonah persona has light by which to see.

Yes, when Spring really arrives, I long to slough off that part of me that's sea-beaten and drearied, apathetic and just tired. Does this resonate with you, friend? Are there times when the molting process seems like a great idea for starting afresh?

And yet, God does proffer that for us. A joy, seasoned but still soul-deep, really does exist - not one centered on lifestyle, but on relationship. When we open our hearts to the only one that is ever there for us, we're buoyed by something greater than ourselves. Something that the seasons seem to know intimately.