No time to talk…
No time to talk…
The first scent I noticed on my walk this morning was from the mown weeds, drying up and exuding the remembrance of new-mown hay, which I rarely encounter in my life these days.
There were conifers whose oils were being drawn by the warm sun into the air I breathed… and I forgot for a moment that I wasn’t camping in the redwoods with my family, walking on a duff-y path with gigantic trees towering on either side.
Just on the other side of the creek from the “hay,” was the soccer field with its green and rich scent I used to get once or twice a week, as I stood on the sidelines watching my children run kicking down that lush lawn.
And there were flowers hanging over from the back yards, honeysuckle and potato vine, and other flowering vines, all heady-sweet and making me wonder why I should ever think dessert was anything to satisfy.
I’m leaving this honeysuckle photo large because there seems to be a tiny long-winged fly hanging on to one yellow part right in the middle. Do you see it, too?
The most familiar aromatic of my walk must be the oaks, because they are ubiquitous in all the places in California that I have ever lived. I think these are live oaks, with their thorny leaves that cling to any concrete patio, etc. that you are trying to sweep them from.
I think those two pictures above, taken of two different trees, are both live oaks, but one has much more concave leaves than the other.
The last classic aromatic plant I passed before I left the path was roses, the little climbing pink and white ones that spill over the fence and pull me off the path to sniff them or take their pictures again and again. This morning I resolved to come back later with my shears — it’s only three blocks — to cut a few for the house.
“Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice…”
I haven’t walked in a downpour yet, but for a few days now I’ve been walking in drizzles and showers, and it has been a watering for my soul. When you live where there is perpetual drought, because it’s not the kind of environment that was ever suitable for this much population, it makes you grateful for every drop.
One day it was a cloud that wrapped me in dampness,
and made a pearly backdrop for Queen Anne’s lace still standing blackened from winter.
All of the plants and animals are happy, too. I saw two pair of mallards carrying on some kind of loud quacking communication, swimming toward each other in the creek, then away from each other… I wondered if they were arguing about who would be hosting whom for the better meal of bugs and polliwogs?
This morning that stream was high and deep from last night’s heavy rain. Frogs rejoiced.
All the blossoms are dripping and shining.
At home, euphorbia flowers were cups offering me baby sips, and the iris that opened in the night was like a canvas showcasing a multitude of raindrops in different sizes.
Now in the afternoon, the sun has come out,
and I’m considering taking a sunshiny walk to round out the day!
That would be a very Spring-y thing to do, wouldn’t it?
Not only did I see a rainbow this afternoon, but egrets, and a flower that looks like a sea anemone. A hawk on the power line, and a feast of rosemary blossoms.
When I returned from my extended trip — eight weeks away — I was flattened not only by jet lag but by various other ailments that kept me from even thinking of the creek path until the last couple of days. Today I had taken care of enough business that I could envision and plan for some walking in my afternoon.
At first, I thought I had waited too long, and that the rain would catch and soak me. My first few pictures I took through some falling drops, and at one point I turned around to come home early, but then I turned around again and had a proper long meander. I didn’t dare go faster on my legs that are much underused these last many weeks.
Neither strolling around the garden or worshiping in church had made me feel so fully “back” as walking my usual route along the now-muddy stream and singing “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” in the proper setting. Somehow, when I get out there I get quickly in touch with my contingency, and that puts me in my proper setting.
“For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” (Acts 17:28) Being alone in my room does not so strongly impress upon me my aloneness with God and my utter dependence on Him for life itself. For Life itself. My familiar walk is like a familiar prayer that lets me forget the particular words or interface, and go straight to the heart of the matter.
Years ago a man named David Dickens was writing a poem almost every day which he published on a blog. I saved some of them because whether or not their form was polished, their spirit called to my spirit. Like this one, which because it includes images of rain and paths and walking, in the context of exuberance, seems about right for today. Thank you, again, David!
Praise him who rains scorn upon the scornful, and
Let him who gives grace to the humble be praised.
Extol the one who shames crafty men in their schemes
And seeds the garden of those without guile.
Listen to the word, the father’s instruction;
Be attentive, the mother exhibits a watchful heart.
Beautiful are the paths of the maker,
Keep to them and live.
Shout for joy, you who know the one you speak of,
In the house preserved eat a feast with hearts glad.
First in all the spheres of heaven is love
The second is wisdom which uphold the third, peace
Fourth is faithfulness made perfect in suffering
Fifth the gift of tears with her sixth sister, joy
The seventh and last humility, the fortress of all goodness
Great is he who walks unhindered, and to
The one who makes fleet your steps, give glory.
The sky is always clear to shine as no branches cloud his path.
Refreshing waters flow beside and the fawn drinks deep the cool water.
Fear not the wicked forest though it encroaches,
But praise him who keeps the wolves from the camp at night.
Lord and master grant us safe passage,
And rest in your home.
– David Dickens