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Savoring My Passage - the monthly journal of A. C. Gray

August 2010*

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Every Sunday now along the fifteen miles of back roads from Bridgewater to Brown Memorial Church, clarion blue chicory blossoms accented with the first hints of goldenrod and delicate Queen Annes lace, wave smiling faces as I go to worship.  My doorstep garden, too, multicolor with zinnias, petunias, marigolds, ageratum, and sunflowers make joyful this midsummer hastening into fall.  Having recently become aware of Fibonacci’s discovery, how every flower petal is assigned a number sequence, I examine each blossom up close  and marvel at this wonder, see for myself the Master Architect’s exquisite design reproduced in all living things, yea, even in the spiral constancy of whirling constellations overhead in the night sky.  Was it not Haydn who composed The Creation Symphony  to this same sequence and drumbeat of the Master Maestro’s baton?

 

Aldo Leopold in his epic essay on nature, A Sand County Almanac, describes an August event in Clark County Wisconsin where Nature’s Master Artist paints an ephemeral picture that exceeds any found indoors in any gallery.  His small farm was on a river. “The work begins with a broad ribbon of silt brushed thinly on the sand of a receding shore.  As this dries slowly in the sun, goldfinches bathe in its pools, and deer, herons, kill-deers, raccoons, and turtles cover it with a lacework of tracks.  There is no telling at this stage, whether anything further will happen.  But when I see the silt ribbon turning green with Eleocharis (moss), I watch closely thereafter, for this is the sign that the river is in a painting mood.  Almost overnight the Eleocharis becomes a thick turf, so lush and so dense that the meadow mice from the adjoining upland cannot resist the temptation.  They move en masse to the green pasture, and apparently spend the nights rubbing their ribs in its velvety depths.  A maze of neatly tended mouse-trails bespeaks their enthusiasm.  The deer walk up and down in it, apparently just for the pleasure of feeling it underfoot….At this stage the seedlings of plants too numerous to count and too young to recognize spring to life from the damp warm sand under the green ribbon.  To view the painting, give the river three more weeks of solitude, and then visit the bar on some bright morning just after the sun has melted the daybreak fog.  The artist has now laid his colors and sprayed them with dew.  The Eleocharis sod, greener than ever, is now spangled with blue mimulus, pink dragon-head, and the milk-white blooms of Sagittaria.  Here and there a cardinal flower thrusts a red spear skyward.  At the head of the bar, purple ironweeds and pale pink joe-pyes stand tall against the wall of willows.  And if you have come quietly and humbly, as you should to any spot that can be beautiful only once, you may surprise a fox-red deer, standing knee-high in the garden of his delight.  Do not return for a second view of the green pasture, for there is none.  Either falling water has dried it out, or rising water has scoured the bar to its original austerity of clean sand.  But in your mind you may hang up your picture, and hope that in some other summer the mood to paint may come upon the river.”

                          

 

 

After the Rain

“The life has appeared,” says John. “The Word was made flesh.  And we have seen it.”  That is what made these men irresistible.  That is what carried their Gospel like fire around the world. It was not mainly what they said.  Eloquence and rhetoric were the least of it.  Not every one of these men could write an eighth of Romans or a thirteenth of First Corinthians.  Even a Paul and a John were bitterly conscious that they were but stammering and stumbling when they tried to deliver the message, dazzled and bewildered by the glory of the facts they had to tell.  But what vitally gripped and held the world when the followers of Jesus began to move out from Jerusalem to the uttermost parts of the earth was the patent fact they were not guessing or romanticizing, but speaking what they had seen and known, yes, and living in a way which revealed, more plainly than any words, that they were men under orders from a higher power, souls under the authority of direct, first-hand encounter with the living God.  That is what arrested the world and built the Church.  James S. Stewart, in a sermon No Borrowed Creed.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Paul to the Romans 8:38-39.

Grinning Siblings
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