"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Monday, April 16, 2012

First taste of Port A

My dear mother is still a newbie to Texas life.
After 5 months in central Texas, it was time to expand her horizons
so we took off on an adventure to the southern Gulf coast--
specifically the sleepy, beach town of Port Aransas.

Once we pull onto the ferry for the brief ride across to Mustang Island,
my heart rate slows and I sigh with relaxation.
(This physiological response is due to:
1. The calming effect of the waves, gulls, salt air and
2. Knowing the 4 hour drive is finally over!)

My mother is very familiar with coastal living, having lived 40 years on
Long Island, NY, with the Atlantic Ocean beaches...
then 20 years in western Florida with those pretty Gulf beaches.
But Port A offers yet some new distinctions--
we spent hours sitting on the jetty watching the ships sail back and
forth, guessing at countries of origin.
This big one was from Panama.

We mused on the purpose of the cargo and equipment on board each one.
Our binoculars came in handy to spy on the oil rigs just off shore.

Lathered in sunscreen, we shared quiet hours of reflection,
reading scriptures and discussing Easter's deepest meanings.

Most of the fisherman nearby paid us little mind,
except for this one curious fellow who wanted to take part in our
discussions. He listened intently for a long time, but said little.

More than the gulf beaches, Port A is famous for its large variety of shorebirds.
We wandered out on some of the overlooks in the marshes,
peacefully viewing them as they paddled around.

Yes, I was there, too.
I really love this place--
so silent, natural, uninhabited by people.

I'm glad to say Mum survived the alligator unscathed!
All too soon we gave in to responsibilities and packed up
to drive back "off island" --
now rested, tanned and ready to face the rigors of life.
That's what vacations are all about, aren't they?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Island Sunrise

Today is Easter Sunday.
As always, we took part in a sunrise service at dawn.
This time we watched the sun rise over the boats in a marina,
overhead gulls joining our voices in song. Warm breezes.
A lovely setting--far different from the wintry mornings we donned snowsuits, hats and boots to stand shivering at the western edge of Lake Champlain, gazing at the sun rising up from behind the Green Mountains of Vermont.

Sunrise service is not about the location of the dawn.
It's a tangible way to connect with that first Easter morning.
The women arrived at the tomb prepared to anoint Jesus' poor,
mutilated body with herbs and spices. A sad task.
How heavy their grieving hearts were as they made their way to the garden
in the dim light of pre-dawn.
Quiet conversation voiced practical concerns:
Who would roll away the big stone that sealed the entrance to the tomb
that had been carved in the rock?
Did we bring enough herbs and spices?
What would become of us now that Jesus had died?

They peered tentatively into the tomb to discover not a body, but a young man,
dressed in a gleaming white robe .
The poor, stunned women heard these amazing words,
"Don't be afraid, I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.
He is not here.
He has risen!"
All that worry and sorrow shattered with the breaking of day--
Jesus is alive!

And that message makes all the difference for me
and all Christians worldwide.
Five churches from this town joined to hear the message, sing and pray.
The lines of doctrinal distinction blurred as we celebrated the resurrection of God's Son.
We united in the one profound belief all Christians share.
Without question.

A sunrise service connects my heart and emotions to that first Easter morning
over 2,000 years ago.
(I can almost smell the spicy aroma of the burial herbs.)
It's the same sun. The same earth. The same message.
The same promise.
The same joy!

Friday, April 6, 2012

"Mighty oaks from little acorns grow."

A few industrious squirrels appeared late last fall.
They pulled and tugged at the acorns on my neighbor's oak trees,
often ending up with leaves and small branches, as well.
These busy, little buggers then rushed around our backyards,
digging holes and burying said acorns to feast on in the months ahead.

Well, either the winter season was shorter than expected
or they had short-term amnesia, but many acorns went uneaten by spring.
So now we have little oak trees growing all over our yard.
In unwanted places, I am afraid.
If left to grow, we would have a venerable oak forest rather than yard.

To prevent this forest from growing, I pulled up a few baby trees.
(I know, tree hugger turns to killer---)
But this awful deed brought me a delightful surprise!
Each tiny tree had an intact acorn at its base that split where the secret beginnings were evident--a root growing down in the soil and the wee trunk growing up to the sun and air.
I gazed at each one in wonder, witnessing a miracle of growth.

So enthralled at these tiny trees still attached to their "mother" acorns,
I couldn't wait to share my wonder with my little grandchildren.
As hoped, they were just as thrilled as I to discover how trees begin.

Inspired, they raced around searching for some dry acorns that were lying around listlessly, just waiting for someone to notice them.
We then chose the perfect spot for a big, strong oak tree and dug a little hole.

This Texas dirt is not easy to dig even a little hole in, but they prevailed,
covering each acorn carefully.

Grandma's botany lesson was thorough and each acorn was given
a nice drink of water and a few words of encouragement before the whole process was over.
And now we wait and watch...

The phrase, "mighty oaks from little acorns grow," reminds us that great things come from small beginnings.

My heart swells with love for these little ones I call my grandbabies.
I am quite positive that, given light, warmth, air, space and a bit of water,
they, too, will grow to be great and strong.
And beautiful.

And, to make this wordy blog post relevant to you,
here is another profound phrase I remember:

"Do not worry if your job is small
And your rewards are few.
Just remember that the mighty oak
Was once a nut, like you."

(I see that grin.)