Thursday, March 15, 2018

A Winter Goodbye...Told in Yellow

Welcome, dear readers.

The first day of spring might be printed in bold back letters on the calendar, but in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, spring is fickle.

A beautiful warm day may waltz her way down the mountain hollow knowing a snowy gray world awaits morning’s first light. Spring will make its appearance in a few days, but for now, snowflakes are dancing outside my window.

The hollow was soundless as I stood and watched the feather-sized snowflakes make their slow journey to the ground…some landing atop the bright yellow forsythia bush…two seasons colliding, vying for victory.

For several weeks the forsythia bushes have had sweet yellow blooms marching down their long graceful limbs. Each day I’ve watched the intensity of color and the size of the yellow, bell-shaped flowers grow in size.

A riot of daffodils ring the stone springhouse, the sweet yellow blooms holding hands with the grape hyacinths…such a pretty pairing. The old farmhouse has daffodils in beautiful beds and also one or two blooms standing defiantly alone, as if choosing their own spot, possibly planted by the farmers wives over the years.

“She turned to the sunlight
 and shook her yellow head,
and whispered to her neighbor:
'Winter is dead.'” AA Milne

This winter season was exceptionally hard in the hollow. Snow followed snow. The pasture across the way wore a blanket of white for several weeks in a row. The cows took the weather in stride, never going hungry because the good farmer brought large bales of hay to eat and for bedding-down warmth. Now I watch the cows enjoy the greening of the hollow. The calves like to congregate near the forsythia bushes on the other side of the fence…makes for a pretty picture.

The daffodils and the forsythia are signs the worst of winter has past.

Have you faced a winter season in life; a cold wind of grief, grey clouds of shame, icicles of bitterness? Rejoice! Solomon’s words reassure us that winter has passed. Spring has won the battle of clashing seasons. 

See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth, the season of singing has come. Song of Solomon 2:11-12

Dear reader, let Jesus breathe the warm sweet breath of spring over your life. Let the season of new birth, and the brightness and sweet fragrance of the yellow flowers revive and restore what your winter season strove to destroy. Hallelujah!

More and more color will soon dot the coves and hollows of the mountains. Vibrant reds, sweet pinks, and bright oranges will draw the eye, but for now I will tell winter goodbye and throw open my arms in welcome to spring!

Such is the tug of the mountains.

Come go home with me often,

Dee Dee 

Monday, February 26, 2018

When Love is a Verb in the Hollow

Welcome to the winter hollow, sweet reader.

February is usually cold and quite often, snowy here in my part of the Appalachian Mountains; but I have a Valentine story (hey, it’s still the love month!) to warm your heart and soul. No, it is not the typical sweetheart tale, but one of love just the same.

Grab a cup of spiced tea or a hot mug of coffee and I’ll get started with the story.

Not so long ago, while shopping in a thrift store, I noticed a cute little boy about four years-old wearing an Indian headdress he’d obviously made. As I passed the child, he said hi to me. I said hello and told him I liked the headdress. He shared how his daycare class was learning about Indian culture and they’d made the headdresses that day.

I saw his name was printed on the headband in large crude letters: Brucie.

I smiled, wished him a happy Valentine's Day, and moved to another part of the store. A few minutes later I felt a tug on my coat. The little boy held something tight in fist offered in my direction.

“Happy Valentine’s Day,” he said.

I bent down and he handed me a bright yellow feather from his headband. There was now a notable gap in his line of colorful feathers.

“Brucie, I hate to take your pretty feather,” I said.

“I learned at church that Valentine’s Day is about love and I love you.”

I gave the generous little boy a hug, after gaining permission from his mom.

Little Brucie would never know how much his gift and precious words meant to me. Valentine’s Day had always been so much fun with my son and daughter when they were children. After my daughter passed away I often dreaded the lovely holiday. Brucie’s gift and hug helped me to embrace my memories with my children and to look for ways to pass his gift of love along.

“When love is viewed as a verb its focus is on giving.” R. Robert Flatt

How was the gift of love passed onto you this Valentine’s Day?