Up is Not the Only Way


DSC_0736 DSC_0738I love the way trees look, their textured trunks, canopies of leaves, and the tenacious hold they have on the earth.  These are Manitoba Maples, aptly named.  I think the first one would be an ideal place to stage a family portrait.

I often wonder what they have seen, the history that has been absorbed through their roots, the stories they might tell if they could.

Leviticus 23:40  On the first day you shall take the fruit of majestic trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.

It’s Growing Well


DSC_0710December we took possession of our new house in our new community.  Winter seemed to take a long time to break as I waited in anticipation of what would spring up in the flower beds.  I knew there would be purple cone flowers, other than that, it was all a mystery.  Spring arrived and I gave all the beds some housekeeping.  There appeared to be some hostas, irises, day lilies.  Daily I watched to see what was to be.

The beds were quite the mess.  I wasn’t holding out too much hope, they appeared to have been neglected for a few years.  I told myself not to be too surprised if the plants took a year to re-establish themselves.  The bearded and flag irises did poorly.  Less than a half dozen blossoms on four bunches.  The one nearest the house was mush.  I had to removed a number of rotted tubers.  I expect to transplant it later in the season.

There was an abundance of hostas, they were late in the southern most bed which is quite shaded.  I’m going to have to thin them out.  All of them bloomed, beautifully.

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The cone flowers began blooming this week.  They are fabulous!  One of my favourites, mainly because of the colour, of course!  There should be more than enough for some bouquets soon.
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I didn’t plant too many annuals this year.  We got a couple of hanging  baskets for the veranda.  There were pair of tall pillar planters on either side of the bench that I filled with cala lilies, pansies and petunias in shades of purple.  The pansies are struggling a little, DSC_0706but those in the front flower bed are doing well.
The day lilies posed the greatest concern for me.  They, like the hostas, dominate the beds.  My fear was the colour they would eventually display.  The fear was realized when they bloomed orange last week.  I know orange is a good contrast for purple, but it is not part of my preferred palate.  They have redeemed themselves, the blossoms are glorious.  DSC_0704
I will be thinning them out, quite a lot.  There are a number of people volunteering to take the discards.  I have a fabulous white one as a replacement and some more bearded irises.  Plus I want room for spring bulbs, tulips, alliums, grape hyacinths, and narcissus.
The flowers have done very well, inspite of at least three heavy hail storms that punched holes in the hostas and beat down the pansies and impatients.  Still, the weather has been warm and there has been lots of rain. Perfect for a riotous display of colour. So grateful for the glory of flowers.  Praise God for the beauty of the earth.
Deuteronomy 32:2   May my teaching drop like the rain, my speech condense like the dew; like gentle rain on grass, like showers on new growth.

The Beauty of Wood


2 Timothy 2:20
In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use.

The flesh of trees captivates my imagination.  All my life the original farm-house has stood at the north end of the garden.  A half century later, I uncover details I never noticed before.  The last discovery was the shadow of paint on the window casements.  It changes the imagined memory of the building’s appearance, a house with lovely blue windows.

I am awed by the beauty of its whorls and knots and grain and colour gradations.  I love how weather bleaches and dims the fibres of growth rings as sure as time increases the number of grey hairs on mortal heads.

The textures and patterns appeal viscerally to my sense of order and beauty.  Even the gradual release of moisture results in splits and fissures that leave character, wisdom in the lines and wrinkles of a beloved elder.

I wonder about the hands that crafted the dove tailed corners.  They are engineered and crafted in such a way that when it rains the water always flows to the outside.

Who was the one that swung the awl or axe that made this.  It still stands, almost a century later, secure on a stone foundation of boulders, a huge flat stone acting as the stairs up to the entryway.

So beautiful!

The old lady has served many purposes. She began, of course as the family home, my great grandparents, grandparents, great aunts and uncles, my father and his sister.  My dad has lived his whole life, 90 years, on the farm.  It is steeped in a memory that transcends experience.  My memories are my father’s stories, an oral tradition infused in my bones and sinew, that catches my breath in my chest and makes it hard to swallow.  I love this place of growing and leaving and returning and longing.

In the '70's as a cattle shed.

In a second life she was a barn, housing a milk cow, a pair of ponies, a few beef cattle.  Four puppies were born in the manger on Christmas Eve.  The closest we came to an irreverent name was Prince, and although no one said it out loud, I always added ‘of Peace‘ in my mind when I was reminded of his borning day.

The old girl back in the day.  (left to right) My great uncle Bill Kostick, ?, my great grandfather William Busco

The old girl back in the day. (left to right) My great uncle Bill Kostick, ?, my great grandfather William Busco.

These images are beyond expression, beyond the limit of words, burned permanently in dreams.

The Iona Building – Vancouver School of Theology


In 2005 we moved to Vancouver with the intent of me returning to studies to earn my Master of Divinity.  There are three colleges recognized by my denomination as having the necessary courses for eligibility to be ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament.  The college I chose was Vancouver School of Theology.  From the onset I was so grateful that I had.  Not only were the courses challenging and enlightening, the community supportive and worshipful, but the campus itself was beautiful.

The north face of “the Castle” is lovely.  Set at the top of a slight rise it draws the eye upward.  When I began studies there the silhouette was uninterrupted.  Since, the skyline has been changed with the rectangular shapes of high-rise student residences and condominiums.  A shame.

The building does not boast many embellishments.  The subtle simplicity of the stone blocks in varying sizes and the small carvings over the entrance ways are in keeping with the purpose of the building.  God is in the small things. 

The charter of the college is magnificently illuminated.  Originally housing the Union College of British Columbia, the Iona Building was completed in the 1930’s and is an ecumenical college educating Anglican, United Church of Canada and Presbyterian students.  The charter hangs in the library.

I spent many hours there, writing, reading, researching, photocopying.

The Merton reading room is a quiet reading/meditation room.  It has comfy large chairs and it was not unusual to find a student napping there.

During my time there the college completed an environmentally controlled archive for many of its older and antique volumes.  People come from all over to access the theological resources.

The building was upgraded to meet seismic requirements, completed in 2005, the year I started.  The interior was brand new, bright and beautiful my first day of college.  Enjoy some of the interior views and patterns.  It was a delight to study and worship there.

 

 

 

 

 

Amazing stain glass window in the sanctuary, and beautiful glass sculpture depicting Creation in the foyer.

View of the north shore mountains at morning. Taken from the 6th floor of the Iona Building