f Morning Rose Prayer Gardens: 05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Fragrant Memories

Red Lilac, howfinds.co.cc

     Each spring when the air is rich with fragrance I am taken back to days of wonder when I ambled alone through my childhood neighborhood in Detroit. It seemed every street had a lilac bush in lavender, white or dark reddish-purple. I remember one yard had a lovely and strongly perfumed white flowering shrub, which as an adult I learned was a Viburnum  ‘burkwoodii’. There are other scents that evoke childhood moments of delight. There was the heady odor from wasteland ponds coming back to life, the tickling smell of grass being mowed, and the rich musty scent of blackcurrant bushes.

Blackcurrant, sagebud.com

     With my head tipped back I would often follow my nose, deeply drawing in a scent as I tried to find its source.
     There are other smells that stir my heart. The smell of fresh dill still carries me back to my grandmother’s kitchen and when we would pickle hot green tomatoes. She and I would also make hundreds of jars of jellies and jams for Christmas giving. The aroma from black raspberries reducing for jelly would cling to my clothes for hours after we had finished waxing the jars.
     Scent is a wondrous thing, a curious gift from God. It cannot be dreamed or imagined. Yet it can carry us adrift into the past and at the same moment startle us into the present.

Saturday, May 14, 2011



The big Eastern White Pine tree that grew at the south-west corner of the house was recently removed by the local power company. When it was planted several decades ago little thought was given to its potential size, and its expansive limbs grew gracefully between the electrical wires. During storms, and there are many of them here, the branches would hit the wires as well as the sides of the house. During one particularly nasty winter, three massive limbs broke off due to the snow loads. The blessing was that they brushed against and then fell free of the power lines, and completely missed the house and wooden stockade fence.
I had prayed many times about that tree. It needed to be removed and I could not pay to have that done. It was ruining the siding of the house. It was a threat to my neighbors during the winter because of its potential of creating a power outage. It grew only feet from my bedroom wall and I feared a wind shear or tornado would drive it through the roof. I loved that tree. I was also frightened by it.
A reminder of attentiveness.
My prayers were answered this spring when a representative from a tree trimming service hired by the power company came to my door. The young man who stood there very respectfully explained about the pruning that would take place in a few weeks. As I walked outside with him, he carefully tried to describe to me what this stately pine would look like if they trimmed it back the required distance to free the power lines. While he spoke I was secretly hoping that the Holy Spirit had moved someone somewhere to answer my earlier prayers. When he asked permission to completely remove the tree I nearly squealed. He looked at me startled and a little relieved as I exuberantly answered “Oh yes, please”!
Having an overgrown tree removed may not seem like suitable stuff for prayers, especially when I think about a friend dying of cancer or the violence in the world. Yet, there it is once again, God’s attentiveness to the smallest details in my life. I sometimes think God just wants to see me wriggling with delight.

Monday, May 2, 2011


A Range of Diversity

     I’ve been pulling weeds and took note of their diversity, growth pattern and required habitat to flourish. Some were shallow rooted, prolific and easily removed. Others like the dandelion and common mallow, though fewer, had deep tap roots requiring I take more time to extricate. 
     Then there were the pretty little weeds with little blue flowers that crept along the ground almost like a lace doily. I noticed the Purple Deadnettle overtakes areas that are rich and fertile. For some species it didn’t seem to matter where they grew, being nonselective of light or shade.
     I pulled out the weed identification book and found over 400 listed for my region and never realized how many of them are familiar. 
     I started to think about all the parables that told of how we need to weed out sins in our lives, to uproot what was opposed to beauty. None of those parables seemed to fit the spirituality of my gardening this day. It was more about the diversity.
     I thought about the pretty little sins that creep into our lives and seem so innocuous, about how some of our poorer choices run deep and take a great deal of effort to overcome. There are those mistakes that we make over and over and over again that are like Quack grass with its creeping rhizomatous root system nearly impossible to eradicate, popping up everywhere, laying hidden just underneath the surface. If pulled at as if a young seedling, its root will snap off and to grow again. If it remains unattended to, it spreads exponentially, becoming imbedded throughout the garden.
     No matter how careful I am at weeding my garden, it is an ongoing challenge to keep things in check. Being attentive does not mean weeds will not come, it only means we can dispatch them more quickly.