The last thing I expected to see as I walked the edge of the field near the woods was a shower of forget-me-nots beaming from the grass. “Why, I thought you were spring flowers!” I said to them.
“Surprise!” they answered, giggling.
I picked a sprig of them, I confess, to take home and press. When they’re dry, I’ll lay them on parchment beneath glass in a frame. And I’ll hang them on my wall to remind me of their laughter and of the way that they blossom all summer long, sun, sky and stars all packed in one sweet bundle.
I pluck these ripe, juicy days as if they were berries and heap them in my basket of remembrance to contemplate on cold, winter days. I’ll sit with snow drifting outside my window and recall these fields filled with bees and wildflowers and remember the steamy heat and how the sun burned my neck and nose.
I’ll remember the fragrance of it, the carrot smell of Queen Anne’s lace, the dry honey of the goldenrod. And I’ll see this golden field with its crown of Joe-Pye Weed standing tall against the deep green woods, waltzing in the slight breeze.
It may not warm me. But it will tell me to hold on and remind me that winter will not last forever.
When a child of the earth wishes, or hopes, or prays for comfort and relief, the pools open and their peace floats gently to the petitioner’s heart.
And all you have to do to feel it is to be still and breathe softly, welcoming it and knowing that you are dearly loved.
As if to apologize for all the recent rain, August wantonly scattered the roadsides and fields with bright yellow flowers. They were everywhere, beaming their rays, and you couldn’t pass them by without smiling a little inside.
That was the whole point, to lift the gloom, to poke you with joy, to remind you that life is worth living, even when it’s drenched in gray.
Nature’s a master of balance, after all. Every yin has its yang. And August? She brings rain and yellow flowers.
Few monumental changes happen without a prelude. You catch a fragment of a scent, a subtle change of light or color. Something in your skin senses a shift. The days take on a new rhythm; their melodies change. And the changes, made with love, wake you and stir you to prepare.
So, here and there, August dips a leaf in crimson. She ripens the berries that will fuel the great migrations of the birds. She brings cool rains that wash the first leaves to the ground, a gold one here, a red-streaked on there. She bids the asters blossom and the mums. The stars that draw her presence in the heavens float in colder, crisper air. And this is all for you, dear children, to awaken you from summer’s languid dream and to set you alight with expectation.
They aren’t, you know, mere decoration. Their beauty is more a consequence than an end. It couldn’t be any other way.
The gifts they give your senses – the firm petals, the vibrant hues, the glowing central star – are but the earth-form of their soaring song, of the quintessential message that they exist to tell:
Shine on. Let your tears give way to joy.
At the heart of it all, your name is written in brilliant flame. And you, dear child, are cherished, and more deeply loved than words can say.
Night approached suddenly, rolling up from the west in a bank of clouds that ate the sun and swept the light from the sky. The world that, an hour ago, was clear and bright now plunged into twilight. The night would bring no starlight. Instead, streaks of pelting rain would flash by in our headlights and all this vast world would disappear.
We would put on good music, let ourselves be lulled by the rhythm of the windshield wipers, our minds floating across an inner space more vast than the landscape that the deepening dusk hid from view.
From that interior world a memory rose, a snippet I’d read somewhere. “Mommy,” the little girl asked, “Is everyone like this?”
“Like what?” the mother replied.
“Bigger on the inside than on the outside?”
The first spatters of rain hit the car’s roof and windows. Glancing at you, already mind-sailing with your hands still so at ease on the wheel, I tucked a sweater around me and nestled more deeply into my seat. “Yes, little girl,” I thought. “We all are.”
The little jewelweed doesn’t mind if you don’t know her name, or whether you notice how orchid-like she is, or that a thousand of her fellows, dressed in yellow and in orange, are bobbing on the hillside.
She will sparkle anyway, and open herself to the fuzzy bees, and to the playful drops of summer rain, and to the light of the morning. That’s all she came to do.
Everything else – the songs of birds, the caress of the breeze, sky colors, starlight, the way life-juices flow up her stem, the wonder of spider webs, the glistening dew – is just icing on the cake, gifts from the magnificent, always benevolent Yes.
The first bank of storm clouds floated toward the eastern sky, leaving in their wake a field of sleepy flowers. In the west, the sun dipped behind a second, deepening heap of clouds, but not without saying goodbye.
To the flowers, it all seemed a dream now, the rain, the glow of the sinking sun, the cool air. They surrendered their colors for the night, lending them to the passing clouds.
As they drifted more fully into their dreams, a lullaby sang to them. It was a high, soft, sweet song and it enveloped all the creatures of the earth. Even those whose ears could not detect the sound felt its benevolence in their hearts. It sang the names of every one of them, wishing them peaceful hearts, and assuring them that they were deeply loved. And the flowers sighed with happiness and slept, wrapped in serenity and fragrant joy.
The morning mists gave way to rains that gentled this August day. All that had been raucous and loud was stilled. What had been glaring and gaudy turned to a soft glow.
Time slowed, measured only by the glide of pearly drops down the leaves and the petals of flowers. And from some deep, magical place, old memories rose, floating on the fragrance and the quiet, peaceful song. And our hearts were drank of their beauty and made us glad to be alive.