Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Vines (11/21/05)
TITLE: Within the vine
By Denise Stanford
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The Nurseryman suggested planting an ornamental vine.
¡°I¡¯d prefer a grape vine.¡±
¡°Then you¡¯ll need two, the ornamental grows quickly giving you the shade you¡¯re after¡¦ then the grape vine can take its time to get established, when that¡¯s done grub tother out.¡±
With a wooden pergola to support them she planted the vines side by side. Delia soon enjoyed a pleasant shade beneath a scattering of leaves. They thickened into a shady canopy beneath which she nurtured pots of flowers and herbs. A small water feature, a table and chair made it her favourite spot.
Here she would have her quiet time and eventually began writing the things God brought to her heart. If at a loss for words, she would lean back finding inspiration within the vine; in pink tinged buds swelling, bursting, soft green sunlight, black and white butterflies drifting through the canopy seeking a safe haven for eggs, autumnal changes turning green to a palette of vibrant flame.
Leaf litter became woody mulch, the earthy scent released by winter rains. Naked twisted stems formed a sculpture like no other. The only thing that didn¡¯t come was fruit and eventually Delia presumed the grape vine had died.
The curtain of branches embraced her and she felt safe within the vine. She would never dream of cutting it as her neighbour Harry kept suggesting she should. When the vine formed a barrier between her and the world, she was glad to hide and write her own.
One day, settled within the vine, came the moment every writer dreads. Nothing! No words, no ideas, no thoughts just a blank page mocking her. She leaned back searching the vine for the inspiration. As if seeing it for the first time she noticed how many of the large beautiful leaves had become small and misshapen, long empty branches ended in stumpy twigs stiff and unmoving.
The vine offered neither inspiration nor encouragement. Trying to ignore it Delia returned to write, again and again producing fruitless stories and stunted verses. Day after day she struggled on, her disappointment rising.
¡®Why do things have to change?¡¯ she wrote just to see some words on paper.
The sparse foliage once again allowed the neighbours to witness her uninspired struggles, leaving her feeling exposed, betrayed and abandoned.
When Harry next suggested pruning the vine she lost it. Storming off to her tool shed she found the pruning shears and attacked the vine. Before long everything had been cut away, only those branches too thick for the shears remained.
No longer keen to revisit her failure as a writer, she kept busy. A space opened on the flower roster at church, a new family needed help with a sick child. She began walking and watched the seasons change in neighbourhood gardens.
One day as she passed Harry¡¯s place he called out to her, ¡°I see you pruned the vine then, looks promising.¡±
Following his gaze she saw the naked pergola now covered in lush green leaves.
She went to stand beneath a ceiling of green. In just a short time it had grown so much long new branches had burst away from the sturdy stems, tendrils tangled together in a frenzy of support and scattered throughout tiny green clusters of young grapes.
The delight was too much to contain. Finding paper and pencil Delia quickly wrote three pages of song within the vine. Once again it became a haven but this time with two chairs, she issued invitations and made sure she could see and be seen.
Each year with Harry¡¯s help she pruned the vine. The branches became bindings for twiggy pyramids for sweet peas and clematis. One year she wound them into Christmas wreaths and gave them away.
Within the vine she once more enjoyed her quiet times and wrote the abundance with which God blessed her. When she read in Song of Solomon, ¡®¡¦They made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept.¡¯∆ She realised the error she had made. By hiding away she had forgotten how essential to her own spiritual wellbeing it was to be active, within the Vine §Ù.
∆ Song of Solomon Chpt1v6NKJV
§Ù John15 vv5/6 NKJV
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