I really do love the month of May. When I look at the forecast, it tells me that tonight will be the last night with lows in the 30s – 39 degrees – and we shouldn’t see any more frost or freeze until late September. The sun has a different kind of vitality to its beaming, and even without rain for this spring, slowly but surely the flowers and the trees are budding out and turning sticks into green and colorful expressions of life.
I think we will head out today to find flowers for the many pots we own. I know for many of you, the idea of planting flowers in May seems silly, since you have had yours in pots or in the ground almost since February, but here we have passed those danger days of too-cold, and having to cover the plants from getting nipped. On Saturday, with a little help from Krylon spray paint, we transformed the huge tan plastic pots that sit in front of our steps into deep bronze, almost Temple appearing vessels, ready to receive the red and white petunias that work so well each year. Part of what makes this time of the year significant is our ability to change our world a bit, and then sit back and enjoy the beauty of this new season.
So, one of the presents Cheri got for Mother’s Day yesterday was a lightweight robe that I stumbled across. It’s made up of reclaimed and recycled silk pieces from clothes, most likely from India or China, and then patched together on top of an inner single piece of fabric to make a simply pretty robe.
It did come a little bit musty – I expect it had been washed at a factory, and then sealed up before it was completely dry, so we put the robe on a wood hanger and hung it out on the little maple tree in the backyard to air out for a bit. It was a nice breezy day, so the robe floated in the air, with the sleeves flapping like it was trying to fly. It was fun to watch.
Probably most amazing, however, was staring at the robe and seeing how many different pieces of fabric were used to make up the one piece of clothing. It really was like Joseph’s coat of many colors – except since it was going to be used by Cheri, I named is “Josephine’s coat.” There are bright purple and teal and light mustard colors, along with deep red and orange, and all sorts of pieces that have patterns on them. Any one of the fabrics would make a beautiful silk robe, but with all of these put together, it really is a gorgeous robe.
Of course, it doesn’t take long, when you realize all the pieces came from other kinds of clothing, to begin to wonder and imagine who owned these pieces before they came together in one robe! Who walked around, or did their daily chores, or perhaps met with someone special, wearing their particular fabric? Were tears or sweat from the living of life poured into the pieces? Were they wore by young persons, or little old folks, or were the wearers important people in society, or were they simply commoners who wore the clothes until one part wore out, and then somehow, the article found its way to that clothing factory, and someone was creative enough to re-use it all, and bring it to life again?
It’s a one-of-a-kind robe, since each one would have different pieces of cloth that would create it. Isn’t it amazing that Cheri would end up with this one, and not another, as each one was packaged and distributed for an internet order? However it turned out, Cheri now owns a piece of many people’s history, and it gives us some fun to think about all the aspects of it.
If we are willing, we all live in a world of wonder. There are almost limitless things we can ponder, from parts of nature to the actions and decisions of those around us, to the history of a simple robe. That is – if we are willing. If not, then what happens is that all of those wonder-full objects and actions simply fade like the first colors of dawn as the sun rises. We will miss it all, and boil our lives down into just moving from thing to thing, with no appreciation, and no sense that we just might not have an answer to everything. We should always be fascinated, and create those what-if stories. It’s when we let go of having to control our whole lives, and allow ourselves to get swept away for a time with wonder itself, or dreaming, or again, fascination of the world in which we have been placed, that we find a enormous resilient imagination that brings us truly alive, with an intentional not-knowing-for-sure, where so many answers are correct, and all very delicious to explore and think about.
I hope you come across something today that overwhelms explanation. Enjoy that time and that ride when it happens!
Word for the day: ramiferous. Pronounced ram-IF-er-us. Not a word often used, it comes from the Latin words of ramus, meaning “branch,” and ferrous meaning “bearing.” Basically, a ramiferous object is one that produces branches – that could be a tree, or perhaps some path of thought, where you run off on a rabbit trail, when actually you are simply acting ramiferous. A partner word to today’s word is ramuliferous, which goes even further down that path. If you take “ramus” and make it diminutive – smaller – you have “ramulus” or a small branch. So, when you see something that is ramuliferous, you will notice the very small, tiny branches that make it up. Of course, if you continue to split hairs in a conversation, you could also be acting with a ramuliferous mindset.
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.