Tag Archive | beauty

Magdalene Crocus

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Burst of sun-soaked brightness,

brave against the winter’s brittle shards of

last year’s grass; like Magdalene,

I want to clasp and hold these beauties close;

force them to linger, gentle paint, refresh

the withered fringes of my fingers, eyes, and soul;

but holding on would only mar the fleeting

beauty of their fragile strength; like them, I too

am but a passing guest in this grand wonder

of a world; so let it be its yellow, purple,

crimson, heart-breaking, beautiful self;

enjoy! enjoy! these little flowers say,

savor every color, every promise sprouting

from winter’s gray, forbidding cold; but

fingers always open; springtime hearts as well.

Without Celebrity


for Ione, a friend whose work behind the scenes enriches so many of us

Hidden under tender leaves, she

humble glows her quiet life, unseen

almost by passers-by; out-dazzled

by the showier blooms that thrust

their petals high into the summer

wind; but sun winks through the

leaves, smiling warm to nourish,

to affirm her unassuming ways;

to say “well done,” to kiss a life

obscure but so essential to the

beauty of the All.



food for thought

PCT flowertiny flower along the Pacific Crest Trail

(picture taken by daughter Karla as she hiked the PCT)


I have come to realize that the radiance of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away the fragrance of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy.  Perfection consists in being what God wants us to be.

(Therese of Lisieux 1873-1897)



Dismay!  Not long ago, I opened my blinds to find that my beautiful wind chimes were badly tangled and snarled after a heavy wind in the night.  Four of the seven willowy strands of delicate silver, blue, and white discs were wrapped tightly around each other.  And what had once been such a graceful elegance outside my window was now a knotted clump—at least part of it was.  Several strands still dangled free, but that entangled clump made the whole most unattractive.         

Not that the chimes themselves seemed to mind.  They seemed to have enjoyed, in fact, their boisterous dance, raucously clashing against each other in their wild tango with the wind.  And now, with calmer winds, the free strands continued to tap each other playfully, tinkling, as always, like stars that sing in the dead of night.  They seemed unfazed by the tangled awkwardness of the knotted strands.  In fact, even the knotted strands still tapped the others and sang along as best they could.  

But I was not unfazed.  Because the chimes are suspended high above our deck, quite beyond reach, I knew these lovelies would simply have to hang there, knotted and askew, their elegance and delicate charm now a mere memory.   Always I had greeted these chimes each morning when I opened the blinds.  I would smile at them.  And they would smile back at me, gaily tapping their shy “how-do’s.”   But now the joy of this simple morning ritual was gone, and my greetings became sporadic.  Too disappointing to see their clumped-together-forever knottedness.

Imagine, then, the sharp intake of my breath some days later when I happened to glance up from a book I was reading and look out the window.  My wind chimes were no longer tangled!  Each dainty strand once again dangled free, twisting and twirling in the breeze, happily tapping out gentle melodies with all the other strands.  Apparently a fresh, strong wind of the previous night had mysteriously blown in to undo the work of the earlier wind, and my chimes were restored.  Elegant again.  Free again.  Swaying and sparkling and shimmering in the morning sun again. 

And I had done nothing to bring this about.  It was simply a gift, a beautiful gift from the wind:

  • to remind me of how much of life is not under my control;
  • to remind me of how often gifts of grace blow into my life, surprising me and giving me a simple joy;
  • to remind me to keep my eyes and heart open so as not to miss a single one of these sudden delights. 



Since that happy day of wind-gift, my chimes have, for the most part, dangled freely and cheerfully.  But every now and again, a wind will take a fancy to them and lead them in another wild dance that leaves a couple of the strands wound tightly around each other.  Not as unsightly as the first time when four strands had formed that clumsy cluster, but tangled nonetheless, and always a bit dismaying.  I am learning, however—slowly, to be sure—but learning nonetheless:

  • to accept this reality, this “brokenness” that mirrors so much of life in so many tangled, knotted places in our world; 
  • to wait for yet another wind-gift to undo its earlier mischief;
  • to live in hope–hope not just for the next wind to free the tangles of my chimes, but hope for that one-day Great Wind which promises to untangle all the snarls of our earthly lives and set all of life free.  Fully and finally free—to be all that Creator Wind intended for us to be. 

Today the chimes serenely dangle in the quiet air.  The sing a quiet calm, and I feel blessed.




(written following the death of a young woman in a tragic boat accident last month, July, 2013,

on the Hudson River in Rockland County, New York)


Washed in rain too fierce and

blown by wind too brisk, she

flutters hesitant to sample once again a

bit of nectar from the blossoms on my deck;

two days ago, so bright, so vibrant in her daintiness,  

but now her golden luster paled, her brilliant colors

dimmed, her wings in tattered disarray. 

I grieve for this lone swallowtail, and know as she

takes cautious flight, she never will return.


Another, too, has disappeared;

a bride to be in merely days, she carefree

skimmed the Hudson with her friends;

her brilliant wings a-glow in shadows of the night,

she chatted, laughed, and teased her groom, her

worries blown away on river breeze—until,

colliding with construction barge, her happy boat

lurched sudden to a stop and tossed her to the

hungry waves, compelling her to walk the

aisle of death instead of wedding joy. 

I did not know this lively sprite, but

grieve with those whose lives were

swallowed by her sudden vanishing.


So fragile all the beauty of our days;

it lifts, but wounds as well,

insists we hold life’s joys in fingers

open, curved to touch, but never grasp;

asks us to give those fingers eyes to

peer through gauze of winds and rains,

peer through the ragged jolts that sudden

slash across our days, peer through and through

to glimpse the larger hands that hold our spindly lives,

our all-too-early deaths; those larger hands with costly

scars that wait to sculpt anew the beauty broken,

strewn across our chipped and crumpled dreams.

Palm Sunday


I looked out my window on Palm Sunday morning and saw this cross “shadowed” on the rock in our backyard.  I posted the picture on Facebook, and my good friend Jane responded with a poem.  Here it is:

In my garden

A cross shaped tree-limb shadow

Lies on the cold hard stone,

Which has not yet unsealed

The opening to Spring.


In my garden

X marks the spot

Where hopes and dreams are buried,

Until  green leaves and trumpeting blooms

Announce a Resurrection.


In my garden

A point where two lines meet

Show Earth and Heaven intersect,

In dreary places here below

As we reflect the Light.

Jane Cronkite