An organization that I belong to holds a gathering every July at one of the member’s homes. Last weekend, it was in Pioneer, Ca, at the end of a mile-long gravel road where there is zero traffic and lots of space to roam. Or get lost.
The house had a deep wrap-around porch overlooking at least six garden rooms. I wanted to take more pictures, but the sun wasn’t cooperating and getting acquainted with the members’ spouses was more important.
I can go crazy photographing nature. Photographing nature can steal time from friends or listening to presentations or the heartbeats of another’s story.
I learned from one member’s spouse, an elderly lady, that they had five children and at present, 126 grandchildren. Imagine my response. She talked about the daughter they lost to a brain tumor when she was a young mother of two boys. The soft-spoken lady went on to tell me that one of her sons lives in the small community of Hughson (population currently under 10,000), close to where my husband and I grew up. I remember, as a little girl, going with my mother to the only grocery store there. I was around eleven or twelve when a cute teenage male bagger pushed our grocery cart to the car. I was walking in front of him when a gust of wind blew my circular skirt above my thighs. Already feeling awkward and homely in my gangly body, that unexpected act of nature left me mortified.
It’s good to listen and learn with our minds, and our hearts about another’s life. Everyone’s story matters. Story is the link that connects people. And you never know what memories of your own will creep up. (No pun intended.)
That evening, on the wrap-around porch, I received the story of an elderly woman with compassion and appreciation for the life she lived, grieved, and loved. I’m glad the sun wasn’t cooperating. I’m glad I put my camera down and instead sat with this woman to embrace her story.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25
This week, please join me in praying these words by Ralph Waldo Emerson for family, friends, and strangers of all ages and race.
“We are called to live the dreams God set in our hearts, to multiply and fill the earth first where we live. Only then can we reach the world through our gifts and talents . . . and through freedom to encourage others to achieve their dreams.”
Flag image by Samuel Branch @ Unsplash. Quote, poppy image, and design by Dianne Marie Andre.
I recently did an interview with Hallee Bridgeman who wrote, “I LOVE meeting authors like me, who had no intention, understanding, desire, or spark to write until well into adulthood. It makes me feel a little more “normal” among us writers. Please read on and enjoy Dianne Marie’s interview as much as I did.”
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Three years ago, my husband planted wildflower seeds in a narrow stretch of bare land between the back lawn and the pasture. The seeds in the canister covered only eight feet of soil. Yet, the wildflowers make a big impact in the little northern corner of the yard.
When they are in full bloom, it’s a good place to toss a blanket on the lawn, stretch out and watch the magical charm of hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies as they dance from flower to flower drinking nectar. It’s a good place to listen to nature’s musical band stir the air with flapping wings while the horizon hangs in silence.
Strange how one can feel calm and comforted where wild things occur.
The wildflowers are drying up now from the June heat. My husband does a good job watering them, via a soaker hose and a simple turn of the spigot. But he is negligent with deadheading. Neither of us has the time or the desire to bend over hundreds of dry flower heads. At some point, though, we’ll take on the task because we love that little patch of rainbow hues and insect habitat. And when we do deadhead the dying wildflowers, we’ll drop them among the foliage with the promise that another generation of seeds will propagate.