Friday, April 24, 2020

Friday Chat: Spring, Keeping Hopeful, Colour

Image from Pixabay

Two women met for tea. They talked about life.
Things they were working through and things they were learning.
They showed each other grace and gave each other courage;
even though neither of them had all the answers,
they knew that God sure did. 

So they laughed and they cried and shared their lives.
And in the end, when the cups were empty…
Their hearts were full.
UNKNOWN


I'm sitting here at my desk at the tale end of another week. It's been quiet and pleasant for us. Not involved in any of the front-line work during this crisis but home in isolation, we carry on with our little chores and projects. We write blog posts, visit online with family and friends, write notes and decorate the envelopes with colour to make the postman smile. We order face masks from a local seamstress. We make simple meals and muffins and blueberry cobbler. We stop for tea in the afternoons. And as the days warm, we begin clean up in the garden. Gently carrying on with our days, we also weep at news we hear and pray for hearts broken and lives lost—how is all this grief to be endured?

We turn our thoughts spring-ward. For Spring beckons and we eagerly throw open the windows and bid her welcome. Come in, O Gift of Creation, come in and assuage our hearts. With snow finally gone and spring arriving in earnest, our thoughts are wild with laughter. Where shall we turn first as new life emerges from our corner of the earth. Sure, snow squalls are possible probable before it's all said and done, but for today, we savour sunshine and warmth mixed with faintest hints of green.

American poet Mary Oliver wrote something that fits my heart today. I'm especially drawn to the last three stanzas, but you need to read the whole thing for them to make sense, so I take the liberty of sharing it all....

SUCH SINGING IN THE WILD

It was spring
and I finally hear him
among the first leaves—
then I saw him clutching the limb

in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still

and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness—
and that's when it happened,

when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree—
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,

and the sands in the glass
stopped
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward

like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell what it was that was singing—
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed

not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfect blue sky—all of them

were singing
And, of course, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn't last

For more than a few moments.
It's one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,

is that, once you've been there,
you're there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?

Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then—open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the
song
may already be drifting away.
MARY OLIVER


Image by Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life

A crocus here and there, tender new shoots from an eager perennial, and after giving the patch of lawn a rake, the grass is a glimmer of green.


Image by Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life

I'm still feasting my eyes on these 'Abba' Double Early yellow, red, orange tulips. They really make my heart forget the nonsense. This is the real business of life, how it should be. Ralph Waldo Emerson in a poem he wrote said the earth laughs in flowers. We should laugh along. Joy gives strength.


Image by Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life

What lush colour have we here with this pot of purple-pink tulip on the brink of opening? I can't wait to see the whole pot burst open. The petals curl like a woman's soft lip—wouldn't the colour make a lovely shade of lipstick? And, if local Alberta artist Robert Lemay were to recreate this beauty with his paintbrush, I wonder which of his tubes of paint he'd mix to bring about that particular shade.

* * *

I just spotted the neighbourhood hare in my backyard; he's sporting his brown summer coat. He often came to our backyard during the winter months. He foraged under the bird feeders, and to our chagrin, grazed and left barren the bottom branches of our small evergreens. Yet still, I was tickled that he felt safe enough in our yard to often snooze in a sunny spot. Any quick movement from me watching at the window, however, and he'd be gone. The fellow must be glad for the warmer weather and easier access to better things to eat. I shouldn't think those prickly evergreen branches and leafless twigs made any kind of satisfying meal. But in the deep of winter, needs must, as they say.

Ooooo, the house finches are singing their sweet songs this early morning. Yesterday I saw the male chickadees in hot pursuit of a mate. This morning Rick saw one carrying nest materials. Such a flurry of activity. Haven't heard any robins yet but it should be any day now. My senses are on high alert, for that first robin song on the breeze of a spring evening never fails to make my heart flutter.


* * *


Image by Prawny from Pixabay

Someone asked her readers about what had given them the courage this week to get up and press on with things. I stopped to ponder that a moment. My personal space is quiet and reasonably safe, I am happy in my home. And I think to myself, but I'm barely affected by all this, but, no, that's not true. It's not normal to be this quiet. It's there, the eerie weirdness that permeates our every day when we remember we can't zoom off with Jean and Vern for coffee, or make a lunch date with Ruth or Leila. And, only go out for essentials and social distance by following the arrows in the grocery store and try to hear what the clerk is mumbling behind the Plexiglass barrier. No, that isn't normal, but I'm grateful for it—people are doing their darnedest to keep us safe and fed.

What has given me courage this week? For one thing, I remind myself often of Blaise Pascal's advice, 'In difficult times carry something beautiful in your heart'. I think, also, about those words from the New Testament: whatever is lovely and of a good report, think on these things. So, I focus on filling my thoughts with good words, lovely images, recalling stories of people being kind to people, laughing to watch Bertie Lakeland (terrier on Twitter) zoom and bimble on his daily video walks, sighting Jack and Tex (also on Twitter) wander the Welsh countryside with their beautiful humans, taking in green hills and fields filled with sheep safely grazing. It's things like this that give me courage in these strange days.

The other morning I woke in the wee hours. I came to my desk to read and write. I found the following lines from the Common Prayer, A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals. They settled in my heart. I wrote them in my journal and then sent them off in notes to friends. I offer them to you....


" We stoop to lift up our souls, O God :
rain down heaven in our hearts and in your world. "


" Lord, we cup our hands to gather the pieces of heaven
you shower upon us. Help us to open our hands with generous
spirits and scatter your divine love in the darkest places. Amen "


"Even in the darkness, we will trust :
that our lives are still in your hands. "


" Guide us, Lord, through the dark places of our day
that we might trust you when shadows overcome the light.
Remind us that darkness is as light to you. Amen. "



* * *


Mom and I were chatting yesterday. She warned me that, as these days carry on, I'll need to let her chatter more when I call so she can clear her throat and get all her words out. We chuckled but we recognized the truth of it; we do need to talk, we all do especially now.

With our lives so narrow in scope these days, I've been racking my brain to look for things the two of us can talk about, even here with Rick and myself, doing some Google searches about what we can explore and then share. It reminds me of when my brother was a boy. He used to sit on the stairs reading the dictionary for entertainment, and then he'd pepper his mom as she made supper, "Did you know....?" Only now, Mom and I will be able to pepper each other with our newfound knowledge. Or maybe, we should pepper my brother; I'm sure he'd appreciate our efforts.


Reading through this post, I realize I've needed to let my own head chatter. I hope you don't mind that I've used your ear for it. Enough for one day....I pray you have a wonderful weekend. Keep safe and healthy. See you Monday. And don't forget to laugh with your flowers.

Heart hugs,
Brenda
xox







34 comments:

  1. I was sure the first poem was going to be the favorite part of this post, but Brenda, you shared so much loveliness,beauty joy and hope that every part contributed to the end result...a very happy heart! thank-you and God bless you in these 'testing' days!

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    1. I'm glad the post continued to 'surprise' you with new things to enjoy. Your words mean a lot to me. Thank you, Janet.

      Happy weekend,
      Brenda xox

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  2. What a uplifting lovely post. Thank you. Have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. Thank you, Penny! Good to hear from you.

      Happy Saturday,
      Brenda xox

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  3. “Joy gives strength”, and the Mary Oliver poem, the lovely photos, and your reflections ... all so beautiful. Yes, I agree with Janet Martin. Every part contributed to the end result. A beautiful beginning to my day. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you, dear Joy. Your words always mean so much to me.

      Happy Saturday,
      Brenda xox

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  4. Since I posted this morning, we saw our first robin of the season sitting on the fence. I'm celebrating. Haven't heard the song yet, but tonight. AND, the wren just arrived -- already he makes his presence known. A sweet racket in the neighbourhood.

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  5. Chatter away, dear Brenda. Otherwise, we may go a wee bit mad, if we haven't already. I did get outside today to blow the sand and twigs from the driveway. It was fabulous. I've never enjoyed it so much before.

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    1. Funny how the most mundane of tasks take on new meaning. I'd say there would be something quite satisfying to that task of clearing the driveway on a spring morning.

      Happy Saturday,
      Brenda xox

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  6. I loved yur 'chatter' Brenda. I always feel uplifted by your writing.
    Have you noticed how much louder the bird song is?

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    1. Oh yes, the bird song is louder. We spotted a robin yesterday but haven't heard him sing yet. Maybe today. The migrating birds are all just starting to come in. The songbirds won't be for a few weeks yet, closer to end of May.

      Wishing you a beautiful Saturday, Sunday, Monday....
      Brenda xox

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  7. Tour tulips are stunning. maybe, I'll have to try planting some in apot for next spring. i have had no luck with putting them into the garden.

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    1. Ruth, we put the bulbs in pots, set them on a table (off the floor) in our unheated garage (it is attached to the house). We put in early bloomer and later bloomer bulbs. The early ones started coming up end of February and bloomed in March. The later varieties came up later and they are blooming now. They're sitting outside in their pots and giving our brown landscape a touch of colour. I hope you give it a try. We are sure glad we did.

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  8. Dorothy In PAApril 24, 2020

    Thank you for this heart filling, soul uplifting post. I am drawn into the texture and beauty of the words.

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    1. Dorothy, I appreciate your lovely comments.

      Wishing you a beautiful weekend,
      Brenda

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  9. Thank you so much for your beautiful posts. What a lift to the day!

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Marie. I appreciate your kind comments.

      Happy Saturday,
      Brenda

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  10. I have enjoyed reading your "chatter" this morning. I find that I am not as much a chatterer as usual. There is greater noise in my home these days with Ron working from home (phone ringing, business talk, stress), and so I feel a greater need for quiet. I do hope my blog friends understand!

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    1. Of course we understand, Cheryl. We wish you grace for these untoward home circumstances. Hope you'll find a secret place for your soul to rejuvenate.

      Heart hugs,
      Brenda xox

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  11. Your chatter this morning was most welcome. The Mary Oliver poem is a new one to me, and so delightful, full of the importance of paying attention and living in the moment. Then, the selections from the Common Prayer book spoke straight to my heart. Yes, this is the time to rejoice in life and to revel in the Light.

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    1. So glad you didn't mind the chatter....yes, it's time to rejoice in life and revel in the Light. Brenda xox

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  12. I felt that I was walking alongside you. Your writing is beautiful, engaging and uplifting. And your photography too! Thank you Brenda.

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    1. Mary, I always treasure your visits. Thank you so much for your kind comments.

      Blessings,
      Brenda xox

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  13. You outdid yourself here, dear Brenda, what a beautiful post! Just what I needed this morning.
    Amalia
    xo

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  14. Lovely post. I felt as if I was in the garden having tea and conversation with you. Birdsong is my favourite thing to wake up to.

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    1. There is nothing like waking up to birdsong, I agree.

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  15. Brenda, this is absolutely lovely. I loved every word from beginning to end. So uplifting and encouraging. I thank you very much for it.
    Wishing you a lovely week with beautiful signs of spring. Stay well, dear friend.

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    1. Sandra, It's shaping up to be a beautiful week ahead. Yes, let's all stay well. Thank you! xox

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  16. Love the colours of the pretty flowers. It won't surprise you that a cup of tea is what drags me out of bed every morning. HA!

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    1. For me, it's coffee first thing. Tea is the afternoon beverage of choice.

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  17. Oh Boy! Great post, from deep in your heart to our eyes!
    I recognized the last stanzas. First thing in the morning I take our dogie out for a walk, "Quick, then—open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song may already be drifting away.". We dart out and listen, smell and look at the wonders God has provided us today! I don't want to miss any of it.

    Your thoughts and heart are similar to mine. I think I'll start reading the Dictionary!

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To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xox

PS. I do not always comment here, but I do look forward to coming and visiting you....