Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter messages...

I love this time of year, when the world around me is coming back to life. I love to watch the surprises in nature ... especially the blooms of nature. I don't think anything displays the creativity of our Heavenly Father better than flowers. Obviously, much of their purpose is to produce awe in the observer.

Here are some of the flowers from my experimental garden -- the garden that lines our swimming pool. I dubbed it the experimental garden because many of the plants contained there were haphazardly planted by me, just to see if they'd actually grow. Perhaps I will skip the boring Easter metaphors and let you draw your own conclusions...

Above/left are the impressive blooms from a succulent (above/right, which is not so impressive) -- a cactus of some sort that my eldest son purchased 10 summers ago when we were vacationing in Carlsbad Caverns. First, the cactus sat on our kitchen windowsill. Then it was planted in a small pot on a table near the pool. Finally, it was moved to the experimental garden. This year, it surprised me by putting out this shoot that's about three feet tall, followed by five or six clusters of blooms. Wow -- 10 years later.

I have a similar story about this iris above. It bloomed for the first time last Spring -- after about eight unproductive years in the ground. I got it from my dear friend Bevelle, who has since moved away. She had a profusion of these irises in her flowerbeds and invited me to come and dig up as many as I could carry. I did, and after planting, she informed me in a matter of fact, by-the-way manner that these particular irises had never bloomed for her! Year after year, I looked at the bloomless foliage. The plants multiplied each year, but other than that they were quite unremarkable. I'd like to say I didn't dig them up because I was being faithful, but the truth is I was just being lazy (and perhaps a bit sentimental since they came from Bevelle).

Here is one of my absolute favorites above. The multi-color blooms from this Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow bush (which is actually located in our side yard) are really amazing. They bloom dark purple, then fade over the next weeks to light lavendar and finally white. Don't you love it? A bloom that "ages" in a gentle, beautiful progression. I often look at these flowers and ask myself, which bloom do I prefer? In truth, my answer nearly always changes.

Finally, shown above here is a hibiscus I trimmed back about a month ago. It grows to 9 or 10 feet tall, thus the severe trimming that is required every year. What I've tried to capture here is a dead hibiscus branch within the alive limbs and small buds from where the bush's new growth will emerge. When I trimmed the bush, I thought I pulled out all the cut branches, but they were easily "lost" among all the green limbs still attached. Yet after being removed from their source of nourishment, they are easily detectable from the still-alive portions of the hibiscus. It is more than obvious to the naked eye, this part is alive, but this is dead.

In the beginning of this post, I claimed flowers are one of the best demonstrations our creator's creativity. Of course, children easily trump flowers. My family got together on Easter for lunch. The weather was dismal initially, but eventually the sun escaped from its prison and quickly warmed the ground. We decided it was reasonably dry enough for an Easter egg hunt. My two younger children had dyed Easter eggs the day before, even making an egg for each nephew with their name on it. I dug up some extra baskets from the "Easter box" in the hallway closet and gave them to my youngest son and my two nephews. I have to say that for the first time and as many years as we've been doing this, there were no fights today. That in itself is an amazing Easter miracle.
My favorite part of today was sitting around "recalling" tender memories and outrageous events from our childhoods. My brother has a remarkable memory. Sometimes some of the memories I have seem a little fuzzy -- almost as if I am remembering the telling of these stories and not the stories themselves. As our kids listened, they seemed both fascinated and bored with our recollections. I wondered what their memories might be, 30 Easters from now. I wondered if their stories would pull gently on their hearts as my stories did on mine...

Easter is a time of discovery, a time of surprises, a time of reflection when we consider how the impossible became ... possible.

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