How to Love the Difficult Months

How to Love the Difficult Months August 3, 2019

 

I should call them the hydrangeas of astonishment.

This summer hardly anyone visits us at Maplehurst without saying, “These hydrangeas! Have they always been here? Have they always been so tall?”

They haven’t always been here. I planted them myself a handful of years ago.

They haven’t always been so tall.

Time is as necessary an ingredient in the garden as sunshine and water.

Each summer the hydrangeas spread their roots a little deeper and stretch their limbs a little higher. Because I do not prune these particular hydrangeas back to the ground they flower at new heights each year.

This year they may have reached their peak.

*

I’m a gardener. I know what time can do. I know how much it matters.

I know it is like that slow trickle of water, sinking deep into the ground. The flashing downpour may look impressive, but those sheets of water can run off and away, leaving the ground still parched.

So why, at the very beginning of August, did I waste so much time searching “autumn party decor” on Pinterest?

Why did I stay put in my air-conditioned house, ignoring the warm breeze on the front porch, longing for apple-crisp air and pumpkins on the porch?

It seems I’ve grown tired of summer. I am eager to turn a corner (and every new season is a turning).

But August is what I have. Will I receive it?

*

I write here about the cultivation of glory. I write of those disciplines, practices, and attitudes that allow us to reap a harvest of heaven here on earth:

Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land. – Psalm 85:9

But if God’s glory dwells in the land, surely it doesn’t skip town in August. Surely some facet of that glory is revealed only in the gifts that August gives.

And what does August give in my own patch of land?

Hydrangeas, for one. Astonishing hydrangeas called ‘Firelight’ that hold all their summer color–bright white and pale pink–as well as their autumn hues–deep burgundy and rosy brown.

August gives children who haven’t yet returned to school.

A few more visits to the pool.

A few more sunflowers.

A few more farm-fresh salad suppers.

Pumpkins can wait. August is for blackberries and peaches. A visit to the swimming hole at the creek. Perhaps we will finally take the kayak down to the river.

*

Tell me:

What good and shining gifts will you take and hold this month?

 

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