Apple blossoms and honeybees in the backyard.
(Photos by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)
It was a beautiful and perfect day, but not in the way
that you probably imagine. The skies were grey,
the new daffodil blossoms bent over in the gusting
wind. It was a hot tea and zipped jacket day.
There was a sweet melancholy in my thoughts
as I drove by your old home, our old haunts,
and remembered the two of you, laughing and happy,
exploring your new hometown. There was no pain
in the sweet sadness. No tears. A gentle gladness
for the time I had with you here. It was a day to rent
“The Secret Garden” and watch young Mary learn
about hope and magic while a fire danced and burned
in the woodstove and a cat curled up on my lap for a nap.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.
The earth is alive! –
the air filled with the aroma
of blossoms and freshly-cut grass
and vibrating with frog song
The day’s tension eases from me
and I feel myself falling gently
into the soft mother’s arms of spring –
my thoughts opening up, blooming
with the joy of the evening.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
(Click here to hear tonight’s frog song in our backyard.)
Winter just started officially yesterday, but I already feel like I’ve been sitting in winter for months now. This season once held a lot of magic for me – glittering snowflakes swirling down through a starry sky, and snowmen and skiing, and pie-baking and caroling through the neighborhood. And there’s still magic, I guess – but… the last few years have also brought tragedy in winter, and now I find myself growing a little wary as the dark and cold relentlessly approaches my part of the world…
Christmas lights on the tree –
sparkling through the cold
and dark – and I wait
for daffodils. Wait to see
their sunshiny flowers
filling the fields again.
But daffodils need to go through
winter to bloom, and if we want
to see them so do we.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
Dad was resting in his bed when we got there.
Karen: Do you want to go for a drive?
Dad: Yes. Am I allowed to leave here?
Karen: (laughing) Of course! Are you ready to go?
(Scotty and I situate Dad in the front passenger seat and I sit behind Dad in the back seat. I reach forward and pat Dad’s shoulder and he reaches for my hand and holds it.)
Scott: Where should we go first?
Karen: Sisters Espresso.
(Scotty heads for the Sisters Espresso. As we pull into the parking lot…)
Dad: Good! (smiling) Karen takes me here all the time when we go on our drives…
(I order the usual ice cream float for Dad, and a couple coffees for Scott and myself. I hand Dad his float through the car window…)
Dad: Thank you!
Karen: Is it good?
Dad: (gives the thumbs up)
We head out to the daffodil fields.
Dad: This is beautiful country. (Thinking) I used to be stationed out here – in the Coast Guard… Have you ever been to the Big Four Inn? They turned it into a Coast Guard place during the war. (Note: Dad had also been stationed in the South Pacific during The War – but today he wanted to talk about the Big Four Inn.)
Karen: (to Scott from the back seat) We went up there with Dad, remember? The Inn burnt down – there was just a foundation there.
Scott: (remembering) Yeah. (turns to Dad) We hiked up there together, remember? We went hiking with Pete Schoening to the Ice Caves.
Dad: (nods, remembering)
Scott: (talking to me) That was one of the last hikes Pete Schoening went on, wasn’t it? Do we still have the picture of Pete with the boys?
Karen: Yes. I think I have it on Facebook.
(The daffodil fields appear on the right.)
Karen: (pointing) Look at the daffodils!
Dad: The field is glowing.
(Scotty pulls over so I can snap some quick photos.)
Dad: What are we doing for New Year’s tonight?
Karen: It’s April. We’re looking at the April daffodils.
Dad: Oh. (Pause) When did I think it was?
Karen: I don’t know.
Dad: (to Scott) I used to live at the Big Four Inn. Have you ever been to the Big Four Inn? The Coast Guard took it over during the war. Where did you live during the war?
Scott:(smiling) I didn’t live anywhere. I wasn’t born, yet.
Dad: (starts laughing) Oh. Yeah.
(We pass Tulip Town…)
Dad: There’s going to be a lot of traffic here when the tulips bloom. You’ll want to avoid this area when it’s tulip time. When do the tulips get ripe?
Scott: Another couple weeks, probably.
Dad: (making an observation) It’s easier to see things when it’s raining. There’s not as much shadow.
(As we reach our turn-around point on our drive…)
Karen: Wayne said he was going to visit you. Did he stop by?
Dad: Yeah. We had a nice visit.
Karen: Did his wife visit you, too?
Dad: Yeah, she was there, too. It was nice.
Karen: Some more of your friends are going to visit in a couple weeks – Tom Hornbein, Bill Sumner, and Jim Wickwire.
Dad: (smiling) Good! That gives me something to look forward to!
(We head for Dad’s home, and pass a retirement community where one of his friends used to live…)
Karen: Norma used to live there, remember?
Dad: Oh… yeah. We visited her there once, didn’t we?
Dad: I think she lived in the house right there – right next to the fence.
Karen: Yes, I think so.
Dad: This was the best time to go for a drive. I wouldn’t want to be driving around on a weekend when the tulips are blooming.
Karen: This was a nice drive, wasn’t it?
Dad: Yes, it was. A nice drive.
(We turn into the driveway of Dad’s home.)
Dad: I recognize this place. There’s that long bedroom…
(We help Dad out of the car, up the stairs, and into Moz’s old recliner in the living room.)
Karen: Thank you for going on a drive with us, Daddy.
Dad: Thank you for the drive!
Karen: I love you, Daddy.
Dad: I love you!
Took an early morning walk and when I stepped out of the house I found myself totally immersed in birdsong, and the smells of blossoms and new green growing things. Started singing the Easter song to myself (with words by Frances Thompson Hill): “Let us sing of Easter gladness that rejoices every day. Sing of hope and faith uplifted, Love has rolled the stone away…” And as I got to that part in the song there was a break in the clouds, and the sunshine landed on my face – warm and reassuring – a blessing, a benediction…
Glory be to God, and peace to the struggling hearts! Christ hath rolled away the stone from the door of human hope and faith, and through the revelation and demonstration of life in God, hath elevated them to possible at-one-ment with the spiritual idea of man.
– Mary Baker Eddy
I’m thinking about the stone that Love has been rolling away from my heart over the years – the ego, blame, self-will, guilt, fear, anger, selfishness, sense of being “put upon” and treated unfairly – and, though there’s still more stone-rolling needed in my consciousness, I’m so very grateful for the progress so far – so grateful for the light that’s reached me – so very glad to be alive – to be able to experience the birdsong and blossoms and sunshine of an Easter morning.
And here’s a cool thing – hope, renewal, love, joy – those things don’t need to be limited to some traditional church holiday, do they? Haleleujah, brothers and sisters! We can have the glory of an Easter morning EVERY day…
…Every day will be an Easter
Filled with benedictions new.
– Frances Thompson Hill
(Post originally published on April 20, 2014)
“On that first morning when the sky was blue again Mary wakened very early. The sun was pouring in slanting rays through the blinds and there was something so joyous in the sight of it that she jumped out of bed and ran to the window. She drew up the blinds and opened the window itself and a great waft of fresh, scented air blew in upon her. The moor was blue and the whole world looked as if something Magic had happened to it. There were tender little fluting sounds here and there and everywhere, as if scores of birds were beginning to tune up for a concert. Mary put her hand out of the window and held it in the sun.”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
Woke up to one of those dazzling mornings that just makes your heart sing and your body want to immerse itself in the Great Outside. The birds were chirping, the air smelled of blooming things and lawn newly-mowed, and the sky was a vivid, vivid blue. I quickly got dressed and hopped on my bicycle to ride into the little town of Edison for breakfast.
I need to preface what I’m about to say with this: When I was a young girl I lost a friend who was hit by a car while riding his bike. In those days nobody wore helmets. My friend might still be alive today, if he’d been wearing a helmet. Helmets are a good thing, and I would advise everyone to wear one.
This morning I completely forgot to put on my helmet. I wondered at the freedom I was feeling – everything sounded so clear to me! And my vision seemed to be wider. And I could feel my hair blowing behind me. It felt amazing. It wasn’t until I was half-way to Edison that I realized why I was feeling so free. So – yeah, always wear your helmet – but if you should happen to forget your helmet, then you might as well take advantage of your memory lapse and get something good out of it, right?
I had no idea what time it was, and when I reached the place I’d originally intended to go I found it wasn’t open, yet. Quick change of plans. The Edison Cafe was open, so I coasted there instead. I called my son to see if he wanted to join me for breakfast, and he said he’d be right over.
While I waited for the son, I took in the people who were already sitting in the cafe with me. There was an older gentleman – probably in his late eighties or early nineties – eating a plate piled high with what looked to be eggs and hash browns. And sitting at the counter was a father with his young son – the youngster looked to be about four or five, and was still wearing his jammies. The father was reading the comics, and I saw his son point to one of the comic strips and ask, “But it doesn’t really look like him, does it, Dad?” And then I heard the father explain cartoons to his son, and watched him point to the words in one of the cartoons as he read them out loud to his boy. Wow! I felt really privileged to be witness to a youngster being introduced to the idea of “comics” for the first time! That was an event, to be sure. (Before they left, I heard the father say to the son, “Okay, when we get home I’m going to watch the ballgame, and you’re going to mow the lawn.” That had me cracking up.)
My son arrived and ordered his breakfast. While we waited for our orders, my son said, “I learned something really cool last night. Watch this…” and he took one of the paper napkins, folded down a side, rolled it up like a tube, twisted and pulled and made me a paper rose, complete with a stem and leaf! I looked over at the older man, and held up the rose for him to see – “Look at what my son made me!” I said, and he smiled and nodded his head. So then I made a rose out of a napkin – and I walked over to the older gentleman and gave it to him. He grinned and thanked me, and a little while later – when he put on his beret and ascot scarf to leave the restaurant – he made sure to take the paper rose with him. He saluted me with the rose and thanked me before he left.
When I got home, I grabbed my Kindle and headed back to my Secret Garden to read a bit more of mountaineer Joe Simpson’s The Beckoning Silence. I could hear the birds rustling around in the hedge and singing, a dragonfly landed on my shoulder for a moment – just long enough to greet me and acknowledge my presence there – and the sun shone its warmth down on me through the butterfly bush, and the climbing rose, and the grape arbor. I had a lovely time back there.
Just had to share my morning. 🙂
“For lo, the winter is past…The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.” – Songs of Solomon
“Nature voices natural, spiritual law and divine Love, but human belief misinterprets nature. Arctic regions, sunny tropics, giant hills, winged winds, mighty billows, verdant vales, festive flowers, and glorious heavens, – all point to Mind, the spiritual intelligence they reflect. The floral apostles are hieroglyphs of Deity. Suns and planets teach grand lessons. The stars make night beautiful, and the leaflet turns naturally towards the light.” – Mary Baker Eddy
“Presence is needed to become aware of the beauty, the majesty, the sacredness of nature…You have to put down for a moment your personal baggage of problems, of past and future, as well as your knowledge; otherwise, you will see but not see, hear but not hear. Your total presence is required.” – from The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
When spring arrives, I feel my heart start to sing. I walk out the door and am surrounded by the joy of creation – birds singing, lambs bouncing around in the fields, daffodils bringing their cheery sunshine to the meadows, the smell of newly-mowed lawns and pungent blossoms filling the atmosphere – and it feels like a party, a celebration, a gift. In the spring, it’s easy for me to feel the playful, joyous presence of my Father-Mother God, Love.
There’s this great line from Jurassic Park (Michael Crichton) : “Life will find a way.” That’s what Spring feels like to me – like Life is just bursting out all around me, breaking through the winter, clothing the trees with new leaves, unfolding in the blossoms – and bursting out of me, too. There is renewal here. Nothing can stop it. Life is finding its way.
Lately I’ve made a conscious effort to shut out all the dialogue that’s continually going on in my head and just tune in to the sights and sounds of the world outside me – the birds singing, the whooshing sound the leaves on the trees make, traffic in the distance – and I’m seeing things maybe I never noticed before – individual petals on flowers, the flickering of individual leaves, the changes from one moment to the next – and it’s just amazing the way everything around me is moving in harmony, dancing to some universal rhythm – and everything is where it should be, moving where it should move, filling its own niche, serving its own purpose.
I know many people consider God to be a supernatural being. But I consider God to be supremely natural – the name for all that is good – Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life, Truth, Love (synonyms for “God” given in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy). In the spring, it’s easy for me to see evidence of Her everywhere – in the harmony and rhythm of a continually unfolding creation, and in the joy and energy of new life.
For me, springtime represents the constant “newness” of life, a rebirth, an opportunity for new beginnings.
Morning has broken
Like the first morning,
Black bird has spoken
Like the first bird.
Praise the singing!
Praise for the morning!
Praise for them springing
Fresh from the Word!
Sweet the rain’s new fall
Sunlit from heaven,
Like the first dewfall
On the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness
Of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness
Where His feet pass.
Mine is the sunlight!
Mine is the morning.
Born of the one light
Eden saw play!
Praise with elation,
Praise ev’ry morning,
of the newday!
– words by Eleanor Farjeon