Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Turks Cap Lily

Lilum superbum

I suspect this is the smaller species of L. michauxii because of the fewer blooms on each plant.

Capable of reaching a height of nearly three feet tall, this gentle giant of summer is among the largest members of the Lily Family. With recurved petals colored yellow to orange and bearing reddish-brown spots, this flower can be identified from some distance away, growing on moist roadsides and meadows. Up to 40 flowers have been counted on just one plant of L. superbum, while a similar but smaller species, L. michauxii bears only 1 to 6 flowers per plant. Blooming time for both species begins in July and runs through September. This plant possesses no significant medicinal properties, although early American Indians used the bulbs in soups.

One of the joys of driving the Blue Ridge Parkway each day is watching the ever changing natural beauty. The Dogwood, Mountain Laurel, Azaleas to name a few of the flowering trees and shrubs have been particularly spectacular this year. Perhaps it's because we have had consistent rainfall. Yesterday I came across a stand of these Turks Cap Lilies. The butterflies were an added attraction.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I've written before about our little church down the mountain in Willis, Va. I've not written about e. e. cummings but he has been for a long time one of my favorite authors. I've been fascinated by his ability to get the poetic idea across using words to create a picture thought-feeling. "Balloon man and weee" and "anyone living in a little how town" are the essence of what poetry should be. Andy, he of "Older and No Wiser" fame posted this by cummings and it describes New Harvest Ministries very well even to the geography. It also gave me a greater appreciation of e. e. (the habit of his not capitalizing his name makes typing so much easier, not that I'm lazy or anything...) whose idea of church seems very close to mine.

i am a little church(no great cathedral)
far from the splendor and squalor of hurrying cities
-i do not worry if briefer days grow briefest,
i am not sorry when sun and rain make april

my life is the life of the reaper and the sower;
my prayers are prayers of earth's own clumsily striving
(finding and losing and laughing and crying)children
whose any sadness or joy is my grief or my gladness

around me surges a miracle of unceasing
birth and glory and death and resurrection:
over my sleeping self float flaming symbols
of hope,and i wake to a perfect patience of mountains

i am a little church(far from the frantic
world with its rapture and anguish)at peace with nature
-i do not worry if longer nights grow longest;
i am not sorry when silence becomes singing

winter by spring, i lift my diminutive spire to
merciful Him Whose only now is forever:
standing erect in the deathless truth of His presence
(welcoming humbly His light and proudly His darkness)

~ e.e.cummings ~

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Last year there was a promise of orchid pictures. Then Stella put orchid on the menu. But plants are hardy things and this year for the first time since I brought it home shortly after Wanda and I were married only seven short years ago, it bloomed. Now I see two new shoots comming on and hopefully since Stella no longer has a taste for orchid there will be four blossoms come March.

March is not my favorite month since March 12, 2oo7 was the day Wanda was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Benning, who among others has remained steadfast asks, as others have, "how are you doing?" I seem to be doing fine. Wanda said I would be fine if she should be called home. I really don't know how "I" am doing because "I" am not "me" any more. When Wanda and I went to counseling with Rev. Smith who married us I was told she would become "bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh". And she did, so the "me" that was is no longer the "me " that is.

It's as if I have entered another dimension. A kind of placid twilight zone in which spirits become real and our loving heavenly Father gives the comfort He promised. Life as I knew it no longer exists. I have seen incredible courage and love while knowing that death was imminent. And when death came a grace beyond my understanding. Wanda and I would argue over who loved who more. She won that argument.

Only God, and now Wanda know why she was taken and I remain. Things should have been the other way around. Hospice should have been bringing the walker, shower chair and oxygen for me, not her.

So I'm like the orchid which waited untill it was healed from the gnawing and now promises to be even better than before. Perserverence comes from love and I have been given a greater understanding of what real love is and at the same time a knowledge of the unfathomable love that God has for us. For me, this world is very different.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Sunday, July 13, 2008

There is a comfort in the gentle rain. You hear it in the canopy before the first drops discolor the wood deck. Once the leaves become saturated it plays off the metal roof and then all together the various textures produce a variety of sounds. Seldom are our showers boisterous and violent. However there is a Thunder Ridge and a Lightening Ridge which give testimony to an occasional passing torrent.

Tonight the rain is welcome. It reminds me of other nights when we would lay in bed and fall asleep to the steady sound of imperceptible whispers from the mountain. The rain stops and the breeze releases onto the roof a brief patter surrendered by the trees.

"In quietness and in trusting confidence I find strength"
ISAIAH 30:15

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I've been visiting my favorite blogs not leaving any comments. I know there's a word for that but for the life of me I can't remember what it is. Things that seemed so important now shrink to insignificance.

If you read this and are one of those people who cared and were concerned about Wanda, thank you. As you know my posting ended with the diagnosis of her cancer. The time consumed by the blog was time away from Wanda.

I have found out that the HER-2 receptor type of cancer she had is particularly aggressive. Any reoccurance within a five year time frame is not good. Wanda' s reoccured within months. Three bouts of as many types of chemo each more potent only left her feeling worse.

Wanda was told of the terminal prognosis several months ago and did not share that information. She told no one, not wanting anyone to worry about her. Even when the pain in her hips and legs became so intense and 911 was called the week before her leaving us I was still under the impression it was a reaction to the medication she was taking.

The following day when the Dr. explained the pain was because of the cancer and when Wanda said hospice would be comming to the house on her release I numbly realized the the probable outcome. On the way home from the hospital she told me how much the desease had spread to more than several vital organs. Even then her spirits were good. And I still had hope for her complete healing.

I had a week with her to tell her all those things we want to tell the one we love most before they go. How she was my hero and how proud I was to be her husband and of course how much I loved her and how much she was loved by others. I held her hand and gave her repeated kisses.
She told me of her love for me. She told me she was not afraid of death. Her faith was strong and she knew she would soon be home with our Lord.

Her passing was with such grace and dignity it demonstrated she was leaving our love and entering a greater love in the presence of our Savior. Her head was in her sister Paulette's lap and I knelt beside her and held and kissed her hand. She raised her head, gave several coughs and gave my hand a squeeze. That final small embrace said it all; "I love you, I'm fine now, you'll be O.K., be brave, I'll see you later". Joseph Campbell said, "the best things can't be spoken". He was so right.

As I said many things seem now so insignificant. The state of the world, politics, the economy won't change significantly as long as people remain the same. Wanda left me with this. Love and trust in the Lord. If you don't know His redeeming grace get to know it now! You never know what tomorrow may bring. You don't believe in God? You are misled. I am as sure as the grass grows and the wind blows there is a loving Creator who sent his Son to redeem us and make a way for us to spend eternity in His unconditional love. If for whatever reason you deny this it is unfortunate to no one but yourself. And if you do deny keep your ignorance to yourself, as I say to me much is now so very insignificant. However if you do come to realize the truth which shall set you free I will rejoice with you as I now rejoice knowing Wanda is held in loving arms much greater than mine.

OCTOBER 19, 1963 - JUNE 28, 2008

"Rejoice and be exceeding glad:

for great is your reward in heaven...."

Matthew 5:12