Saturday, March 7, 2009

Splendor in the grass


Whispers in the wind
Originally uploaded by canmom
As a girl, I was mostly gangly limbs and buck teeth. (Think Bugs Bunny, girl version.)

Bless her soul, my mother saw to it that I got braces. Every couple weeks after school I walked to the orthodontist to get my wires tightened. Along the way, I passed through an empty lot filled with long leggy grasses. No matter which way the wind blew, at least some of the fuzzy heads on the tall grasses bent my direction as if to whisper, "We love you." Grinning, I tried to touch as many as I could. I think that was my first sense of God as nature.

Many years and hard times later, I went on a weekend treat to Clare's Well, a place abundant with grasses and God. I was exhausted and trying to understand the baffling concept of "letting go," of not being what Sean at age 6 termed so"controlsive."

On the second day, I took a walk to the pond to sit in the sun. Along the banks, I spotted a small paddleboat and thought to myself, "I can do that. I can muscle the boat upright, get my feet a little muddy, push out into the water and set sail--all by myself. And I did. Proudly.

I figured out quickly how to use the rudder to choose my direction and began paddling. Within seconds, a rope completely tangled up the paddle gears. It hadn't occurred to me to put it inside the boat. I was good and stuck.

Oh, for Pete's sake, I thought, now what do I do? Scream for help? Try to use my hands as paddles? Sit there helplessly till someone rescues me? I drifted. And as the breeze carried off my bone-weary problem-solving skills, the tears let loose.

I don't know how I long sat in that miserable state, totally adrift, but at some point, the wind gently nudged the boat close to a marshy spot where tall wetland grasses grew along the edge. I reached out and grabbed them, pulling myself closer to the shore. Hand over hand, I clutched bunches of the strong, smooth reeds and slowly pulled myself back to the dock. Making my way to safety and thinking how silly I must have looked, I couldn't help but laugh, somewhat from relief, but also from imagining God chuckling to herself, shaking her head, and saying, "When will she ever learn?"

These days, I keep a sweet little pot of decorative grass on my desk. It reminds me I that I am still learning. And of God.

Cattails photo: Wiki Commons


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