I chose to live this life alone over 12 years ago. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life,” one of the proverbs tell us. My heart was sick for too many years with an unhappy relationship. I only imagined what a happy marriage would be like. A come-true dream is a tree of life for me today. Eight years ago this July, Dean and I met on a semi-blind date arranged by his brother and sister-in-law. This tall, dark handsome man captured my eyes. But unlike the other bucks in the herd, Dean captured my heart. So happy I pursued this relationship. With our family backgrounds and life experiences, Dean and I came together like two peas in a pod, and we still are. Our pod is shared with our huge family almost every evening and every weekend. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” is how an African proverb is told.
Dean and I needed to become just “two peas in a pod” again for a few days. We stole away to the Great Smokies, doing the Air B & B thing. Mountains, pines, music, and the visual and culinary arts we surrounded ourselves with. Despite the hot days while on a mountain culture retreat away from our Missouri life, I picked two big plastic bags full of leaf lettuce and a heaping bowl full of arugula and chives from my gardens this week. And those delectable garden peas! I love the pods picked fresh, and peas plucked out one at a time right into my open mouth like a baby bird awaiting mother robin’s wiggly worm catch after a rainy morn. The bountiful earth is feeding me (and my family and friends) goodness this spring. The longer and hotter days tell me the summer equinox is soon. Purple lobelia, wandering jew, and red geraniums are filling my moss baskets and terra-cotta pots. I thank God for watching over my beloved gardens while pursuing what captured my heart 8 years ago!
“What shape waits in the seed of you to grow and spread its branches against a future sky?” author David Whyte writes. So much hope from a seed. And the size of the seed does not matter according to Jesus’ parable. “The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘move!’ and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.” (The Message Bible).
Just how complex God has made each of us, “fearfully and wonderfully made”. Holy words to behold … From seed to a tree … providing beauty to delight in, cooling shade to the weary, whispered wisdom from the leaves in the breeze, wood for a warm fire, roots as a foundation, fruit for the hungry, and sweet sap for those special moments. Is not that a mother to her child? A grandchild to a grandparent? A man to his kin?
From seed to a tree, we each grow to be. Taking care of self and our brother. Each can learn from the other. Growing branches at different directions, new skies to explore, yet rooted in the love of family and friends. Faith in self and who our God is, our Perfect Father.
Our fiddle leaf fig trees have been a matter of many global WordPress searches ever since I wrote about them last summer. I have an update. We repotted them in artsy ceramic pots before moving them to indoor winter shelter. Such a chore with the 14-foot one! Our 14-foot and 7-foot trees were moved to Dean’s parents’ weekend condo just about 1 mile from our home. We have cared for and watered them regularly, though they are going through a winter shedding of older brown leaves. New leaf growth started to bud out around the lower section earlier this winter, and more buds appearing in the middle section of the 14-foot trunk this past couple of weeks. Due to the lanky appearance and thinning foliage at the top, we decided to prune both of the trees. We took 2 feet off the 7-foot tree, and the 14-foot tree has been prune to be about 8-1/2 foot tall now. We hope this will aid the lower and middle buds to produce many shiny green leaves. Pruning is an act of kindness really, preparing the plant, forcing all its energy to the fresh green growth. At first it felt like we were killing the plants, but not the case at all. Holy scriptures tell us “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful… (John 15:1 & 2 New International Bible) We used organic fertilizer and watered the trees after the pruning. We expect big things from our fiddle leaf fig trees. Maybe a profitable sale of these showy trees this summer?! We are licensed to sell only in the state of Missouri. If interested, please contact me through this blog.
This summer our fiddle leaf fig trees have shown much growth being outdoors under our shade trees with this Missouri humidity. Their leaves are bright green and shiny when they first leaf out. Our biggest one will not fit inside the greenhouse structure any longer. Its tap-root was pulled from the grounds of the greenhouse’s original site in May, and has grown another 3 feet since. It is the companion to one of our maple trees in the backyard. We will repot the “jolly green giant” and look for a buyer with a cathedral ceiling as it will not survive Missouri’s winter. I have grown to love our overabundance green foliage in the front and backyards. Wishing I lived at Hilton Head Island, SC or Savannah, GA where our plants would have a chance outdoors year round. But then again, I love Missouri’s autumn colors and spring’s growth and renewal from the frozen earth. Missouri has the four seasons, some shorter than others. This year, it has been a long summer. The day will come any time soon when I can say “I felt the air change today” in anticipation of autumn. More on that in another post …
“Time, you left me standing there
Like a tree growing all alone
The wind just stripped me bare
Stripped me bare
Time, the past has come and gone, gone
The future’s far away
An hour only lasts for one second, one second
Time without courage, time without fear
Is just wasted, wasted, wasted time
Oh, oh, oh, ooh ooh ooh
Time, why you punish me?”
These lyrics from Hootie and the Blowfish’s song “Time” keep playing in my mind tonight. This post is continuation of my thoughts in my last post written 5 hours ago. I cried when I walked upon that boat dock at Island Lake last week. I felt my father’s spirit with me, though in body he could not be there with me. Valhalla was Dad’s favorite place to do his favorite thing, fish. Such an appropriate name. “Valhalla” is the Viking’s heaven after he dies from warfare. My father has been fighting such a battle. Dad’s days are running short. He is dying of brain cancer, and I keep thinking about his life. Dean & I visited his father, my 96-year old grandfather last evening. Grandpa Earl tells us stories of his childhood and my father’s childhood. Yet he is cognitive enough to ask about his oldest son, my father. A copy of a photo arrived in the mail today from my cousin. A 1945 family portrait of my Grandpa Earl, Grandma Anna, Dad, and Uncle Earl. Mom called this evening on the way home from work. A hospital bed is being delivered to their Bowling Green home. Yes, the bed my father will be in when he passes from this life. God, I am so thankful for my father, Martin Kenneth Bates. He has been strength to this family for many years. And now we are his strength. He will be with You soon. And I will miss him greatly. I do not want pain for him, just Your peace, comfort, and rest.