Spring Miracles

I never can decide whether spring or fall is my favorite season. Both are beautiful, offering change and new directions, the beginnings of new roads and opportunities. 

But with spring outside, ready to touch, see, and smell, I’m feeling a bit swayed toward the beauty of this season.

It’s in the living buzz of the bees as they stuff their pockets with pollen.

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It’s in the scalloped edges of the new leaves, still sticky from their buds.

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It’s in the outrageous colors of the flowers, outdoing the imagination of any fashion designer.

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It’s in the unshorn grass, joyful to be alive and growing.

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It’s in the unfurling petals, reaching toward the sun.

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It’s the magic and mystery of the world coming back to life, of beauty and expectancy, of wonder even in the tiniest of vessels.

And so I pay attention.

Because each day is its own kind of miracle.

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Beauty from Storm

Yesterday morning arrived in gusty, wet glory.

When I lived in Seattle, waking up to gray morning after gray morning, nothing but sunshine seemed beautiful. But here, where sunshine is the norm, a really stormy day almost takes my breath away with its power and awe-full majesty. Sheets of rain cascade and collide. Leaves–mauve and orange and gold–scatter like trails of magic, effortlessly puffed down the street. Delicate tree branches bend and sway, threatening to snap at every moment in their reckless dance. It is inspiring as well as terrifying to watch.

But what struck me most was what was left in the wake of the wind and rain. When the loud forces of destruction quieted, I went tromping around with my camera and galoshes, noticing the tiny, quirky miracles left behind.

Things like mossy green baby-tears springing up between paving stones, the soft blooming to surround and overcome the hard.

Or the fact that almost all the maple leaves were stuck face-down to the sidewalk, leaving their stems sticking straight up into the air like the tails of curious puppies. 

What I thought was most interesting of all, though, was the sight of our lawn. I looked out the window and noticed that the helter-skelter whipping and tearing of the storm-force had mingled dead autumn leaves with flowers from our bougainvillea vine.

Life mingled with death, the shedding of a tree’s old coat beside pink crepe butterfly-delicate petals. The dying of the old year beside the flowering of the new. Autumn and spring scattered side-by-side. It made me think of Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Flowers. 

It also made me think that even November storms that make the house creak, that strip the trees of all their finery, that force in bare branches and winter before I’m quite ready for them, can leave beauty behind them as well. Gales can even bring the beauty, sometimes: the same violent  winds that destroy can scatter the lawn with flowers.

Maybe–perhaps even this–the beauty wouldn’t come without the storm.

A Splendid Supply of Surprising Sweets

The adventurous and interesting Tami Clayton invited me to play a game of letters (my favorite kind). The rules: reveal 10 of your favorite things that begin with a certain letter of the alphabet.

My letter (in case the post title didn’t give it away): S!

Ready?

Stories: Escape into magical worlds. Power to change the real world. What I want to spend my life writing and reading.

Spices: Cooking has never been so interesting!

Sliding ladders: Ohhh, I want one so much!! Or I could just move into a library that has them.

Shakespeare: The love of my literary life (minus the earring). The genius bard of the Western world. Themes as relevant today as they were in the 16th century. Need I say more?

Sunshine: Just one of the many great reasons to be living in California again!

Scotland: The windswept land of bagpipes and legends, monks and poets, caber tossing and lovely accents–my second-favorite place in the world (after home, of course).

Springtime: My favorite season of the year!

Singing: I like to shatter windows with the high notes. (Actually, I just like imitating Hayley Westenra in the shower, on my church praise team, and when I have the house to myself.)

Sincerity: One of the characteristics I value most in friends (and in literary characters).

Socks: These are not my feet. But I kind of wish they were. My favorite Tinker Bell pair got a hole in them, but I do have a pretty awesome pair of knee-high blue-and-green argyles.

What are your favorite S-things? If you have a blog and want to play the letter game, leave me a comment and I’ll send you a starting letter via Facebook or Twitter!