Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: "Splash" 4-11-13 Deadline (04/04/13)
TITLE: Embrace the Rain
By Lillian Rhoades
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Spring chooses to announce its arrival in a plot of dirt that borders the front deck of my home. Patches of buttercup and golden yellow daffodils headline winter’s exit. Tiny, embryonic leaves painted with the season’s shade of green erupt like kernels of popcorn on once barren boughs. And spring says to winter, “Move on, I’m here.”
With open arms I welcome it; and the desire to put away all of my armor against frigid temperatures overwhelms me. But I wonder about timing. The earth remains crumbled, hard and barren brown, still parched by winter’s chilling breath. And the threat of snow still lingers. What will happen to my daffodils – spring’s flowering foot soldiers that stubbornly push up through unfriendly soil? Could they survive should winter entertain a comeback?
But why wonder? Surely God has planned the seasons, and no capricious act of nature will prevent the display of courageous flowers that have begun to bloom. If I could ask Him how certain was He of the daffodils surviving an unexpected blast of winter’s final farewell, I’m sure He would say what Solomon wrote.
“To everything there is a season… A time to be born and a time to die…A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-3).
And this is their time. Undaunted by inclement weather, they twist and dance with whatever breeze that blows.
These are my hardy perennials, I muse. They show up every year and thrive with little care.
Several weeks later, daffodils are no longer the only clumps of color. After the earth thaws, winter falls into deep sleep, and a lingering chill gives way to warm, sauntering breezes that hang around until late evening. In the garden, an army of brilliant colors soon join the first color guard. Patches of sky blues, pale pinks, and ivory whites announce to the world that another season is born.
With summer the garden explodes with a play of brash crimson, fiery orange, velvet lavender, and mellow yellow –delicate annuals that need rich soil, water, and shade for fussy petals that consider the sun their worst enemy. Although I prefer care-free, now and forever planted perennials, the display of summer flowers laid out before me defies description.
I murmur Wordsworth’s words. “What wealth the show to me had brought.”
Days later, the “wealth” I discover would be much more than the beauty William Wordsworth wrote about.
On a day when an ice cube melts in mere seconds, I look up at the darkening clouds and hear the rumblings of rain. My first thought –great, a respite from the heat and no watering today; an unexpected blessing for sure. As the torrential downpour splashes and splatters its vengeance on everything in sight, I busy about inside the house, grateful for air conditioning, but still hoping the rain will lower humidity levels.
When the storm subsides, I go for the door. There’s nothing like the smell and feel of a freshly washed atmosphere. With a quick glance at the garden, my heart sinks. The impatiens’ petals have not survived the onslaught. The ground around them looks like the scatterings of an energetic flower girl. Several stems from taller plants lay drooping, slightly severed, and pleading for me to snap them out of their misery.
I’d longed for rain, but I quickly realized that too much rain is just as bad as none at all –that too much of a good thing is rarely good.
My eyes dart around at the damage, and I think about my stouthearted daffodils that brought renewed life to my spring garden even when winter refused to leave. What was it about them that made them so impervious to the elements? Wasn’t snow heavier than rain? Rather than succumb to late season snowfalls, they survived snow and spring showers.
It didn’t take long for God to weigh in on my questions.
“The secret to endurance depends on how deeply one is rooted. You can withstand life’s storms when your roots lie deeply below the surface. What seems dead is simply buried and waiting for the right time to push through the barren earth to flower again.”
His words are worth more than my water damaged flower garden. I realize there’s a time for everything, even a late summer rain storm. I embrace the beauty of rain, and end the season far richer than I’d begun.
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