How many burning bushes today?

I stepped just beyond my front door only to put a letter out for the mailman, but I immediately forgot myself and stepped farther, to gaze upon that small part of my kingdom…

Carpenter bees were working at the white salvia that has filled out so well and become a definite feature of the landscape. Only carpenter bees were there. What about the other flowers? On the wallflower, grown to a prominent bulwark of purple in that area that is squeezed between the street and the driveway, buzzed a half dozen different sorts of pollinators, among them honeybees (I hope), stripey little bumblebees, and a species new to me, with bright yellow abdomens underneath.

And what a quietly “burning” bush — to follow the metaphor of the poem below — this creature is. I’m amazed that I saw him at all:

I spent a half hour studying them and collecting blurry pictures to help me see them better. I pulled out the orange California poppies that I am trying to keep from taking over my pale yellow plantation of them. After peering into the asparagus beds that are becoming a forest, I spied a few spears that could be cut, and managed to remember them long enough to bring out a knife with which to do that.

The rest of today promises to hold encounters with several bright and human epiphanies. My world is illuminated and shining full of these transitory and eternal treasures. Christ is risen!


I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the pearl
of great price, the one field that had
the treasure in it. I realize now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying

on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the burning bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

~ R. S. Thomas (1913-2000), Welsh poet

8 thoughts on “How many burning bushes today?

  1. Such lovely flowers and so many bees. I haven’t seen many bees at all so far this Spring. I did see my first dragon fly of the season today.


  2. A joy to read! It is so true that we turn away from beautiful or interesting things too quickly for we have other things to see to or places to go. Even after seven years I have to remind myself that being retired allows me to slow down; to get done what gets done; and not to feel obliged to fit in everything on my to do list and more into one day. Your post and the lovely poem are reminders of that. The only thing I have really been successful at so far is carving out the time in the morning to watch birds while I breakfast outdoors – whatever the weather 🙂


    1. You are an example to me in your noticing, Anne! I remember feeling vaguely guilty when I first started watching the birds. Your doing it every morning I would think would get the days off to the best start.


  3. The Welsh poet reminded me of the many days I’ve gazed out my window memorizing the landscape so I could save it for a later time. When I first became a widow I wasn’t sure where I would end up living. I knew I couldn’t keep our little farm, so I saved up the memory and took pictures, some of which I’ve framed and keep on the wall. But I’m blessed to live on another farm with my kids and have new views to soak in. Wow, lots of bee activity at your place! Enjoy your little kingdom! 🙂


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