[Word of the Day]
The concept of coming back to life after death.
Last spring, while in the woods at Penerene Farm, I came upon some brush and “wooded trash” which dad had carried there with the tractor. Sitting in the middle of it all, I could make out the “old wood” of a hydrangea bush. It didn’t take long for me to realize it was what was left of the one that grew outside my window growing up when I lived at home. Climbing over briar bushes and small forest overgrowth, I made my way to it. There, broken, tried, dried up and barely existing was my old friend. The friend who heard my midnight prayers, my secrets whispered in the dark, provided me beauty all summer and was just one more connection to the dirt I will always consider home. There were but a couple of green leaves struggling to reach out. I reached down and easily picked it up. What should have been too heavy for me to manage, I easily carried back to my truck. What could it possibly hurt, to at least try to bring it back?
Once home, I planted it near a hydrangea that grew outside of my own daughters bedroom window. I watered it carefully and decided what would be would be. After a while – two leaves became three and then four, and then too many to count. My little bush, once large and bold, was slowly coming back. All season, i continued to check on it, give it water and whisper gently, “grow.” Although it showed signs of life, there were no great leaps and bounds. Bare stalks remained with the undertone of new growth from the bottom. It was probably this very reason dad considered it past its peak and pulled it out to begin with. None the less, I was not in a hurry to replant the place in which it had been planted, and it was just fine where it was.
Fall turned into winter and with it, it took any lasting sign of life from my little bush. Still, I waited. As winter now turned to spring, there was still quiet in that little part of the garden. The hydrangea that has lived here for so many years began to peak out and before long became green again. Around the base of my little rescue, Lily’s of the Valley began to pop up. They too, rescues from around my grandmothers home before it was burned because of ill-repair. As it warmed, slowly, leaf-by-leaf my little buddy started to unfold with green again. Still much smaller than during it’s peak, here it was, reaching for sunlight, growing.
This morning, as I was clipping fresh hydrangeas for my table, out of the corner of my eye, I saw it. Simple. Standing tall. A single stem begging for my attention. There it was! My little buddies first bloom on Hilltop! …. and it was PINK! All it’s life, it had been blue. (Hydrangeas are known for being able to change color due to environment, and here it was… Pink) A symbol, a sign or just simply “being” in it’s new space, resurrected. Being given life, after certainly left for dead.
In our own lifetime we are all given the chance to start all over. To rebuild. To re-invent. To renew. Everyday gives a fresh start to make amends, do something different. Even if it is the smallest of things. The smallest of steps, can lead to some of our greatest journeys. Like the pop star Madonna, who has regularly reinvented herself for over thirty years, we ALL are able to do this. The doing, lies within. The motivation comes from the desire to achieve.
Hydrangea: symbolic for heartfelt emotions. …can be used for expressing gratitude for being understood.
Resurrection. The concept of coming back to life, after death.
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Christmas Eve and The Little Cathedral in the Pines…
Christmas Eve, 1972, I made my First Holy Communion at Sacred Heart Church in Bushwood, MD. Forty years later – to the day – I find myself sitting in the same pew with my parents and sisters. The only one from my family missing was my brother, who now lives in West Virginia.
It was hard to sit there without old childhood memories flooding in – the manger set in the front of the church the same as in 1972. The baby Jesus, the same one I had carried to the front of the church that night, and placed in the manger, me wearing my First Communion dress. Glancing to the ceiling, I see the same old speakers up high – the lights hanging from the ceiling are different, yet they are still just as bright. I remember how blinding those old lights used to be, and I suddenly figure out why that was all I saw then – I was little, I couldn’t see over the pew – looking up was the only option vs. starring ahead and just seeing the pew. I was never allowed to sit in Mom’s lap, which would have put me at a higher viewpoint. We all sat straight in a row, never moving for fear of a look from daddy or a pinch to the leg from mom. And you didn’t dare make a sound if you did get “the pinch.” As I sat there between my two sisters, who were being mischievous, I was thankful I was not the one sitting next to mom, just in case.
The stained glass windows are magnificent at Sacred Heart. We always sat in the pew next to the one that bears my grandparents names. As I sat and watched person after person come in – I recognized most of them. It’s been a while since I have seen them – their faces weathered more than I remember, as time has certainly passed. I’m sure they could say the same about me.
After mass, I went upstairs, to the choir. The church was so pretty, I wanted to be able to capture it, for I know, as time goes by, the decorations will change, and perhaps – it will no longer look as I remember it. As a child I spent many Sundays in this choir singing. I’m not sure when my participation stopped, but it did. I waited for the alter and the isles to clear, and started firing off a few shots hoping there would be enough time to capture everything before the lights were dimmed. There was to be one more mass at Midnight, but considering it was only 5:30pm, I was certain they would turn the lights off until then. I was fortunate to get these shots.
Upon leaving the choir, there at the bottom of the steps was the “Children’s Tree” just as it has been for years and years. Large candy canes now replace the once smaller ones. Each child is encouraged to take a candy cane when leaving mass.
Sacred Heart Church in Bushwood, MD… Where I was Baptized, made my First Communion, Confirmed, Married and Baptized both of my children. It’s a place I return to at least once a year, Christmas Eve mass with mom and dad. I feel blessed to be able to do just that.