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from the ground up


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Ice.

We’ve had a long stretch of clear, blue, sunny days here. With accompanying cold temperatures, it is work to make our way outdoors. But each day when we do we are abundantly rewarded.

A natural rink, frosted glass, frozen windows to life below. And shadows and crunching and sliding and sparkling.

And the miracles of water and freezing and sunshine all at once.

 


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Plant Profile: Angel Wing Begonia

Common Name: Angel Wing Begonia

Latin Name: Begonia aconitifolia × B. coccinea

Family: Begoniaceae

This hybrid begonia is an easy to grow houseplant. With origins in South America, this plant prefers moist soil and air. This cane begonia can grow up to 4 feet tall or pruned to shorter stature. Easily propagated with cuttings.

Many (many) years ago my husband and I obtained a cutting of this plant from our college union building which contained a forest of amazing houseplants. It has been pruned, trimmed, and restarted many times. But it still resides in our kitchen several homes later. It still provides us with a pretty show every few months. My littlest boy recently mistook the flowers for those of bleeding heart;  I can see the resemblance.

 


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Labyrinth.

On a beautiful autumn morning, I  joined two dear friends and my parents on a long awaited walk.

A labyrinth walk.

Tucked away, off the beaten path.  Almost unnoticed. A treasure to stumble upon.

I have anticipated, through several seasons, walking this labyrinth. To hear the story of how it began.  To discover the seed, the sprout and the now the flower.

And… so it began, several years ago, two friends, excitedly brainstorming.  Realizing as they spoke, that they were both dreaming of the same thing, a labyrinth.  The timing was uncanny.  They began merging ideas, studying more about the history and concepts of labyrinths.  Next – to select a spot. Not too removed, but just distant enough to create solitude for those walking.

They fanned the sparks, which rose into flames.  Rocks gathered, moved, placed.  Grass trimmed.  Sticks removed.  All of this possible, with the loving help of family members and friends.  The labyrinth began to take shape.

Each stone along the path has a little story of its own.  As the builders walk the path, they remember the origins, how many times the rocks were moved and moved again.  The stones are the memories of a time, a person, or just the simple beauty in nature.

Those reaching the center of the labyrinth often place an offering, a treasure on this central stone.  New offerings come and others disappear. A feather, a bit of turquoise, a rock from a long ago hike, a bit of hope or a prayer.

The following is a prayer, shared with me by my friends. It is said often, as they walk.

                                                          God, please carve away your sacred space here: That this prayer-path will not be a place of emptying without also being a place of filling.

                                                           That those who enter it will quiet themselves to focus on God’s voice, and upon departing be thankful of your gifts.

          That its pilgrims will find Christ and in so doing find love and peace and life.

Amen

 This morning,  friends and family, sunshine, fresh air and quiet, deeply filled a place in my heart.  I am so thankful to have felt and shared in this beautiful spot on the earth.

In a labyrinth, there is no question of which direction to take.  The path may turn you in different directions, but it always leads to the center. The heart.


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Flashes.

Here we are again, on the edge between light and dark.

As velvet darkness hugs in closer, we cherish the flashes of light.

A stream of sunshine setting still-hanging leaves ablaze.

Enormous autumn moons.

Fuchsia sky as we tip, eastward, toward the sun.

The flicker inside the pumpkin.

Smiling windows along our street.

Happiness shining out.

Brightness, far away, but hopeful as a lighthouse.