Savoring now and anticipating Heaven…
The rhythm of the seasons amazes and comforts me from year to year as colors, temperatures and scents change according to their predetermined timetables. Springtime in my yard brings the tiny (and sorely neglected!) crocuses next to my driveway, followed by a stray daffodil or two. As this process starts, my dogwood tree is sprouting tiny little crowns which eventually become the centers of the trademark cross-shaped blossoms the dogwood is known for.
The month of May brings the opening of the peonies, one of my favorite flowers in the world. When we moved into our house, we inherited a long row of white double peonies that a previous owner had planted and cared for. I haven’t done much to them in the years we have lived in our home—I need to divide them so they will thrive and not die out.
These flowers have a short blooming season, a time I anticipate with joy each year. As lovely as the fluffy blossoms are to see, their fragrance is the most intoxicating thing about them. I fell in love with that aroma from the first time it entered my nostrils and lodged itself in my memory. It’s difficult to describe a scent, but the peony smells both sweet and earthy when it is in full bloom. Once I saw someone on television offering a perfume with the word “Peony” in its name, and I thought, “How wonderful that this essence has been bottled!” And I bought a bottle, only to find myself sorely disappointed. It smelled nothing like peonies at all. Some things just can’t be captured.
Now I realize that I just need to enjoy the beauty of the peonies and their heavenly fragrance during the brief time when they are in bloom. I can photograph their visual beauty to enjoy during the remainder of the year when they are dormant. As for that fragrance, I imagine that Heaven is filled with scents as lovely as the essence of the peonies…and in Heaven, that aroma is not limited by a Short Season.
Beauty at every stage…
Summertime in East Tennessee is filled with the scents, sounds and colors of nature. All manner of blooming things burst forth to bring joy and beauty to the world around us. From roadside patches of wild daisies and Queen Anne’s Lace to the fluffy blooms of the mimosa trees, the world seems awash with the glory of flowers.
Right now I am fascinated by the golden hues of the daylilies in various stages of development around my workplace gardens. Unlike human beings, these flowering beauties never seem to have an awkward stage. Even in the flower pod phase their detail is exquisite.
From here they start to unfurl their trumpet-shaped blooms and reveal the yellow-orange flowers that contrast so beautifully with their green leaves and stems. No interior designer could create a prettier color scheme.
I always marvel at the simple, yet miraculous, way that our natural world perpetuates itself. Perennial plants and flowers that return year after year with little or no intervention from humans amaze me. We have a little patch of peonies in the front yard that we inherited when we bought our house. Neither Sweet Pea nor I are wizards with outdoor plants or landscaping, and our peonies have never received much care from us. Yet, every May, they return with their fluffy double blooms and sweet fragrance. Some years they have been affected by poorly-timed cold snaps, and other years we’ve enjoyed bumper crops of them. But they have never failed to come back.
The flowers remind me of God and His masterful craftsmanship. He could have made our world a sterile, grey place…but He chose instead to delight us, His ultimate creations, with color and beauty throughout nature. As I consider the lilies, I like to ponder how God must view us at our various stages. Does He see beauty in all the phases of our lives…of MY life?
Lord, make my life a lovely, fully-flowered blossom whose color and fragrance point people to my Maker, Savior and Friend.