Love’s in need of love today

Love's in need of love today

Good morn or evening friends
Here’s your friendly announcer
I have serious news to pass on to everybody
What I’m about to say
Could be the world’s disaster
Could change your joy and laughter
To tears and pain

It’s that
Love’s in need of love today
Don’t delay
Send yours in right away
Hate’s going round
Breaking many hearts
Stop it please
Before it’s gone too far. . .

~Stevie Wonder

I can plant a seed

I can plant a seed

Blossoms from my garden.

The fact that I can plant a seed
and it becomes a flower,
share a bit of knowledge
and it becomes another’s,
smile at someone
and receive a smile in return,
are to me continual spiritual exercises.

~Leo Buscaglia, (1924 – 1998)

a garden of solitude

a garden of solitude

To live a spiritual life
we must first find the courage
to enter into the desert of loneliness
and change it
by gentle and persistent efforts
into a garden of solitude.

~Henri Nouwen, (1932 – 1996)

a garden of solitude 2

love gathered softly to place in her hands

love gathered softly to place in her hands

It’s spring again, miraculous spring. Every street in town is lined with flowering dogwood, crab, pear – everywhere, boughs are in riotous bloom. In my gardens, something new unfurls daily. The woods are awash with wildflowers, and all along the driveway, violets gem the grass…

For me each year, the first violets of spring bear on fragile stems the weight of perennial tenderness. I stoop down to hook a finger beneath a bowed purple head. As I study the contour of this familiar face, I’m amazed by the power one simple flower wields over my heart and mind…

From the time I was old enough to toddle off to woods’ edge, I kept my mother in fresh-picked wildflowers. The first bouquets I carried home to her each spring always included several long-stemmed wood violets. One year, when I was seven or eight, Momma sent me off to the woods on a special mission to select only the choicest violets. I returned with dozens of flawless specimens. Together, we washed the flowers, a delicate task. We shook them gently dry and arranged them on clean white dish towels, taking care not to bend or bruise any petals. We snipped blossoms from stems. Then, after using tiny brushes to paint the flowers with a wash of egg whites and water, we sprinkled each one with a shower of sugar crystals.

Later, the house filled with the aroma of angel food cake pulled fresh from the oven. When it cooled, Momma frosted it with a white sugar glaze into which she pressed a pattern of sweet sugared violets. It was simply a vision, that cake, and young though I was, I was limp with the romance of a cake covered in violets…. (Alas, no photos were snapped of that eye-popping confection, but in my heart’s album, it glistens on a page all its own.)

Twenty years of violets bloomed and faded…

Then came a day like no other, a day I could never have imagined when I was a child wandering among the wildflowers – the day I held a newborn flower in my arms, a blossom fresh-plucked from heaven: our first child, our sweet Margaret, a precious baby girl newly home from the hospital, bathed and swaddled and dressed in a long white hand-smocked gown Momma had made for her. Margaret was just a day or two old when I looked from her face into Momma’s eyes and said, “I so look forward to all her firsts – her first smile, her first words, her first steps…”

My gentle mother had more poetic firsts in mind for her granddaughter. She said softly, so softly I barely could hear, “Imagine showing Margaret her first violet, her first star. . .” Momma looked at me, yet somehow right through me as the words fell from her lips. For a heartbeat or two, time stood still for me, just as it does when I chance to read a line of perfect poetry: the words ring and resonate – beautiful, mysterious, fleeting, bells in the wind…

When the snows of winter melted away to reveal Margaret’s first spring, I showed her her first violet with deep emotion. I showed her her first star. Sang her every beautiful song I knew, read her every good book I could find, pointed her toward every lovely thing I could think of, filled her days with as much beauty and poetry and joy and mystery as I could – love gathered softly to place in her hands, like the wildflowers I carried to Momma so many years ago…

As Mother’s Day nears, I have asked myself, what does it mean to mother another soul, to nurture another life? I believe it is to pluck from one’s surroundings the good things, the beautiful, the eternal, the true, and place them in another heart, like a bouquet of violets.

like a flute song forgotten

like a flute song forgotten

From barren brown stems to glistening leaf-buds;
from the leaf-buds to snowy virginity of bloom…
It was like a flute song forgotten in another existence
and remembered again.
What? How? Why? This singing she heard
that had nothing to do with her ears.
The rose of the world was breathing out smell.
It followed her through all her waking moments
and caressed her in her sleep.

~Zora Neale Hurston, (1891 – 1960)