May 21, 2019

  It only lasted a moment but what a moment. And how near I came to missing it. * Seven a.m. is rush hour in my kitchen on a weekday morning. Perhaps it’s the same in your home? It is not the hour for stopping to smell the roses. I’ve learned–through trial and error–that it isn’t even the time for a bit of devotional reading or prayer with my kids. We save that for the dinner table. It is the… Read more

May 14, 2019

  Spring is my personal harvest season. The plans I made last summer, the bulbs I buried in the fall, the hopes I nurtured over winter, are yielding their harvest now. It is a harvest of ‘White Triumphator’ tulips followed by ‘White Giant’ alliums in the flower garden and roses climbing near the kitchen door and over the chicken coop. It is the dangling white bells of the Carolina Silverbell tree I planted near the porch on the eastern side… Read more

May 7, 2019

  May is my favorite month in the garden. The late daffodils and tulips are still hanging on, the trees and grass are fully green, and everything else–from peonies to roses–is all set to burst into summer bloom. It isn’t like that moment of almost frenzied anticipation that arrives just at the end of winter. This moment is sweeter, lovelier, and it lingers. * But this isn’t my first May in the garden here at Maplehurst, and I am keenly… Read more

April 30, 2019

  There are some miracles so regular we can almost forget they are miracles. The day before Easter is that miracle for me. Every year for seven years, the Saturday morning following Good Friday erupts in laughter and sunshine, celebration and joy. Against all odds. It has become an annual harvest of glory, but like any harvest, it never feels entirely reliable. It always feels, some years a little bit and some years a lot, like an impossible dream. Every… Read more

April 27, 2019

  It felt like winter would last forever, while it lasted. Spring was a mirage we hardly dared believe. And resurrection? A comforting idea. A tale told to children. An old story we wrapped round ourselves like a blanket while winter storms battered the window panes. * There were signs that something was stirring beneath the mud and last year’s leaves. Brave yellow daffodils raised trumpets as if to proclaim some impossible, good news. But their song was whipped away… Read more

April 13, 2019

  We are living it. I feel that more than ever in early spring. Sometimes winter fools us. And this has been a long winter. After a long accumulation of cold days, we can be taken in by the surface of things, and death can seem total and irreversible. But it isn’t. Our ancient saucer magnolia is singing her praises to heaven just in time for Holy Week, and I am thinking of these beautiful and prophetic words from Song… Read more

April 9, 2019

  There is nothing, nothing, nothing, until, suddenly, there is everything: a haze of green on the trees, daffodils trumpeting in the breeze, and fruit trees bursting into blossom like popcorn popping. I keep, without even trying, a growing mental list: Saucer magnolia (check) Japanese cherry tree (check) Apricot tree (check) Donut peach tree (check) Early daffodils (check) Forsythia (check) I can’t wait to add: tulips, viburnum, and apple blossom. This is my seventh spring at Maplehurst. It now feels… Read more

April 2, 2019

  The opening of T. S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” is often quoted this time of year. I always like to join the annual chorus: April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. Winter kept us warm, covering Earth in forgetful snow, feeding A little life with dried tubers. In winter, these lines are nonsense to me, though I will forever love their sound and their… Read more

March 30, 2019

  I write these Saturday morning posts … on Saturday morning. Coffee cup nearby. Cartoon noises drifting from the family room. The sun just beginning to brighten the room. Today, this room is a little brighter because the forsythia is in full bloom. Not outdoors. Outdoors, the trees and shrubs still rattle their dry bones when the early spring wind blows through them. This old farmhouse is sheltered by many very old maple trees. It is like living beneath a… Read more

March 26, 2019

  We do not always get to choose whether we step into the wilderness or not. But every year as Lent begins, we are invited to make that choice. We are invited to step willingly into the valley of the shadow of death, where sin and brokenness are laid bare and where comfort and distraction do not obscure the harsh reality of the cross. What a surprise, then, to find that even the desert has pools of water. Even while… Read more

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