reflect again

Into the garden now means noting a portrayal of decay -- the settling of this bit of land past its prime for another season.

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It is quiet. There are no house finches, and the honeybees make short days of it if at all. A wasp lingers on the peppermint James planted beside the standard mint near the deck. Snakes who used the shade and the sunny little paths no longer show their tails in quick retreat.

Spiders of bulging abdomens wait. I come too close, blind to one until it scurries upward in my periphery. Imagining shards of web, I shrink back, hating their cling.

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I seek orange mini tomatoes, pop two, and delight in juicy eruptions on my tongue. Before my mouth opened, I made the sign of the cross.

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Thirty years ago this summer I became a Christian.

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That is to say, the mercy of God blindsided me, so the faith I had more or less absorbed from my parents up to that point (having been "sanctified" til then, if you will, by their belief) became front and center, no longer avoidable: I had to make a decision. This is not, necessarily, I have no doubt, what happens to everyone. I know only my experience.

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I only knew it was a yea or nay; do or die; will I carry the Ring into Mordor sort of moment. And I answered yes. Not that that makes me anything.

To some people, I imagine, I am steeped in folk religion. In fantasy. I get that, better than they might understand.

It started when I first carried my Bible on a Sunday, looking like someone clinging to a crutch, resorting to playing a role, or needing a lucky charm. For me this wasn't the situation. I desired to study the writings contained in the book I cradled -- I had nothing else of substance to carry with me. The words in the Bible fit my experience of the love of God.

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How grateful I remain for their continuing, shining treasure. Like the season's final buds on our unquenchable rosebush. The writings of the people shaped and visited by God, sheaths of them. They are pure and holy.

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I will wander through the garden til after the rains earnestly begin.

Comments

Fresca said…
I love these photos----I love gardens just past their prime. (Maybe people too? At the calmed down stage, not so avaricious.)
And I like how you weave the photos with thoughts on faith.

I'm curious: you write, "The words in the Bible fit my experience of the love of God."
I wonder, are there any words in the Bible IN PARTICULAR that fit your experience of the garden in fall?
Deanna said…
Great question, Fresca. It makes me think (healthy activity), and it continues the process writing tends to set me on -- toward finding out what is coming together inside my self.

Interesting to me is that the daily scripture reading from my handy Orthodox calendar for this morning was Mark 4:1-9, the parable of the sower. Even though I started writing the post a couple days ago, I figure I was influenced by the parable. Earlier I was just thinking how Jesus told things briefly (blog post size stories).

To answer your question, then, there is this garden, really a food forest, in my back yard. I ponder this parable fairly often. There's a bearing fruit aspect, and the garden has definitely been doing that. A real striking thing to me lately about the parable is the tendency I've had in years past to "hear" it as a fairly static story, while more recently I think of it more, possibly, holistically, as in, a real garden is never static and is not the same thing, really, two years in a row (at least not around here).

If the parable is saying something static, such as "Watch out, you only have one chance to receive seeds from the sower, or you're toast (barren or unfruitful, etc.)", that is one thing. Another understanding might be, "You were created to watch yourself and see if you are 'good soil' or 'bad soil', depending on what God determined, so that is your 'job' in reality".

It's a very different thing to me if hearing the parable was meant to take place in accord with life close to the earth and the changing seasons, where one year the gardener may add phosphate or something else to soil that was lacking, and it may at last produce fruit that is more pleasing and lasting.

Along with our back yard, the Church gives me another help as I seek to understand the Bible's words: "Do the good you know, and what you do not know will be revealed to you." In this sort of context I find myself, as fall begins, wandering the garden. I truly have the Bible's words resounding within me, and the reason for that is the way the journey's gone for me (three decades now! whoa). I wonder if there was a little challenge for me in your question (and I welcome challenge, but I know you may have simply been curious). I know I'm likely overthinking what you said. I do that a lot.

I like that you might prefer people (and gardens) not so avaricious. Makes sense to me.
Fresca said…
Hey, that's great, the parable of the sower is a natural tie-in!

Your thoughts on the *ongoing-ness* of the relationship between the sower and the soil (love it! a garden is never the same from year to year) reminds me of something Pope Francis said in a recent interview:
"God is in everyone’s life. Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else—God is in this person’s life. You can, you must try to seek God in every human life. Although the life of a person is a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.”

I I liked very much ---most especially "even if the life of a person has been a disaster".
As they say, if you're breathing, it ain't over.

I didn't mean the question as a challenge---I mean, I figured it would be a pretty easy question for you, since I know you have "the Bible’s words resounding within", and since I know you as a blogger to be very thoughtful:
your top soil is rich, not a thin scraping of poor soil on rock.
So, yeah, I was "simply curious"---but not idly curious. That is, I think curiosity is rich soil too---receptive to seeds of thought--who knows what might bloom?!

In my view, it is hardly possible to overthink a question, though I have been accused of it, myself.
Or, if it is possible, it's pretty rare!

(You know, even though I don't believe in God the sense you and the pope do, I still find much God-talk is full of wisdom and insight---good fertilizer, good seeds, good growing ground. Sometimes, of course, it is a thicket of brambles, but that's part of life too--I've gotta figure out how to deal with thorns and infertile ground in my life too!)
Deanna said…
Thanks for each of these thoughts. Wonderful words from Pope Francis. A friend and I had an extended conversation a few months ago regarding faith; he has gone into the Catholic church from the same Protestant group Tim and I were part of. He and I come from significantly different perspectives, but there is much we have in common, too, and, anyway, he is finding much wisdom and insight there.

One new piece for me sounds a little like what the Pope was saying. It's a view that no human being is really my enemy. This view leaps out at me from the Bible now, explicitly and implicitly. I'm not blaming other church groups I've been in for not seeing this sooner -- my defensive battles have been part of my brambles and such that I'm still struggling against, but there we are -- it's a good struggle.

I like your clarification about curiosity. I know you're not idly curious. You have a wonderful strength for gathering information -- I'd call it robust -- and you make connections that are far from idle. Rich soil, indeed.

I tend to worry too much and then not enough about the intensity of certain words. Your question made me wonder if you thought I threw in "Bible" for effect, when maybe I should have just stuck to garden-y musings. That's not where you were coming from, and it wasn't my intention to hit people over the head with a word, so I'm glad it didn't happen.
Fresca said…
Gosh, no, it didn't occur to me you threw in "Bible" for effect---I mean, that'd kinda be like me throwing in "Star Trek"! :) I never do it for effect, it always comes from a real place of love and respect (well, OK, maybe also sometimes from affectionate dismay on my part).

Hmm... somewhere I read someone saying God has no enemies, and I liked that.
Like, does the Universe have enemies? Does Love? Maybe people who are tragically unable to give and receive love, yes, for sure, and people who are caught in evil, but enemies? That doesn't seem to be the right word somehow.

Then I was really amazed and pleased recently to be reminded that that passage of 1 Corinthians so common at C'tian weddings contains the words "Love [God] keeps no record of wrongs"! so maybe that's related too.
Can we (of God/Love) have enemies if we don't harbor other people's wrongs?
Hard for us humans to do!
And, of course other people can harbor our wrongs...!

Good things to think on. Thanks!
Beth said…
Your post and photos stood alone beautifully, but oh my, what a gift to find this organic, lovely interaction between you and Fresca. This is what I would love to see in blogs more often. Thoughtful,and so much more than sound bites. Thank you both.
Deanna said…
I'm glad Fresca thought of the question and took time to ask. Thank you, Beth, for chiming in.
Dee Ready said…
Dear Deanna, faith journeys have always intrigued me. My journey is much different from yours and yet both of us seem to have found contentment within the deep, dark center of ourselves where Oneness dwells. So what you share in this posting and in the exchanged between you and Fresca is quite inspiring. The using of the photographs to illustrate endings is illuminating. And in the endings are the beginnings that nourish our spirits. Peace.