Saturday, April 11, 2009

Highmeadow Blossoms and Easter Wings

In this posting, let's take a little tour of other blossoming flowers around the farm.  "Hope springs eternal" seems to be more believable in springtime itself, and "Easter Wings" tells us how.

This is the little blossoming branch of a young Peach tree that I found growing in the fence line last spring.  It's a very old wire fence, and the tree's roots are so enmeshed in the fence that I'll just try and train it up in it's place, rather than attempt uprooting it and damaging the tree.  I wonder how it came to be there?  We'll see what happens!
These are lovely, little Virginia Bluebells.  I bought them at GroWild Nursery in Fairview last spring, and when they disappeared during the summer, I thought they'd died.  But, surprise!  They reappeared better than ever!  I've now learned that they go dormant in summertime.  What a delightful little plant to look forward to each spring.
                                   Clouds and clouds of Dogwood blossoms.
"... th'violet embroidered vale ..."   ~ John Milton.    What a beautiful way to describe the hundreds upon hundred of wild Violets that lace there way through the grass.
                                              Wild Violet close-up.
Plain ol' Red Clover.  It's really a pretty little plant, I think, but boy, does it make the horses drooley!
Easter Wings 2 by George Herbert
My   tender   age   in    sorrow   did   begin:
       And still with sickness and shame
               Thou didst  so punish sin,
                       That    I   became
                             Most thin.
                             With thee
                        Let me  combine
                And feel this day thy victory:
      For, if   I   imp   my   wing   on   thine,
Affliction   shall   advance   the    flight   in  me.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pear Blossom Study and George Herbert

Yes, I like George Herbert!  He's writes such amazingly beautiful poetry, and his poem entitled "Easter" is posted below.

Until just two days ago, a lone pear tree comprises our orchard.  There's now a young peach tree to accompany the pear, but until age and tornadoes took their toll, our orchard used to consist of an apple, peach, and plum tree.  So, slowly we rebuild. 
Last season, our pear tree bore prodigiously from August until a November freeze.  We ate pears, gave away pears, stored up pears, and gave the horses all the pears they could hope for.  Perhaps this abundance was recompense for the previous year when not one pear was borne due to a late spring killing frost.  This year, if the number of blossoms is any indicator, the horses will be feasting on pears once more.

                                            Pear blossoms on blue.
                                                              Pear blossom clouds.
                                                                                Bee's-eye view.
                                                Pear blossom swag.
Easter by George Herbert
Rise heart; thy Lord is risen.  Sing his praise
          Without delays.
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
          With him mayst rise:
That, as his death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more just.

Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part
          With all thy art.
The cross taught all wood to resound his name,
          Who bore the same.
His stretched sinews taught all strings, what key
Is best to celebrate this most high day.

COnsort both heart and lute, and twist a song
          Pleasant and long:
Or since all music is but three parts vied
          And multiplied,
O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with his sweet art.

I got me flowers to straw thy way;
I got me boughs off many a tree:
But thou wast up by break of day,
And brough'st thy sweets along with thee.

The sun arising in the East,
Though he give light, and th'East perfume;
If they should offer to contest
With thy arising, they presume.

Can there be any day but this,
Though many suns to shine endeavor?
We count three hundred, but we miss:
There is but one, and that one ever.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Crab Apple Study with George Herbert

The Weeping Fruitless Crab Apple tree bears the sweetest buds, perhaps even more beautiful than the flower.  Because of circumstances and storms, I didn't photograph the flowers; but I hope you enjoy seeing the dainty buds.
Here you can see the tightness of the bud and the serrated leaf.
                                                      In the evening light.
                                               Peek-a-boo bud!
Sepulchre  by George Herbert
O blessed body!  Whither art thou thrown?
No lodging for thee, but a cold hard stone?
So many hearts on earth, and yet not one
          Receive thee?
Sure there is room within our hearts' good store;
For they can lodge transgressions by the score:
Thousands of toys dwell there, yet out of door
          They leave thee.
But that which shows them large, shows them unfit.
What ever sin did this pure rock commit,
Which holds thee now?  Who hath indicted it
          Of murder?
Where our hard hearts have took up stones to brain thee,
And missing this, most falsely did arraign thee;
Only these stones in quiet entertain thee,
          And order.
And as of old, the law by heav'nly art
Was writ in stone; so thou, which also art
The letter of the word, find'st no fit heart
          To hold thee.
Yet do we still persist as we began,
And so should perish, but that nothing can,
Though it be cold, hard, foul, from loving man
          Withhold thee.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Daffodil Study with Milton and Herbert

                               Daffodils with evening rays and shadows.
                                                            Flora with Fauna.
                                Down and round the vine-wrapt trunk.
                                    Daffodils in evening backlight.
                Golden western rays take their form in daffodils.
From Paradise Lost by John Milton:
   "So saying, her rash hand in evil hour
Forth reaching to the fruit, she plucked, she ate;
Earth felt the wound, and nature from her seat,
Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe
That all was lost.  Back to the thicket slunk
The guilty serpent, and well might, for Even
Intent now only on her taste, naught else
Regarded; such delight till then, as seemed,
In fruit she never tasted, whether true,
Or fancied so through expectation high
Of knowledge; nor was godhead from her thought.
Greedily she engorged without restraint,
And knew not eating death:"

   "Where art thou, Adam wont with joy to meet
My coming, seen far off?  I miss thee here,
Not pleased, thus entertained with solitude,
Where obvious duty erewhile appeared unsought.
Or come I less conspicuous, or what change
Absents thee, or what chance detains?  Come forth!"

   "So judged he Man, both Judge and Saviour sent,
And th'instant stroke of death,denounced that day,
Removed far off;"

The Agony by George Herbert
   Philosophers have measur'd mountains,
Fathom'd the depth of seas, of states, and kings,
Walk'd with a staff to heav'n, and traced fountains:
   But there are two vast, spacious things,
The which to measure it doth more behove:
Yet few there are that sound them; Sin and Love.

   Who would know Sin, let him repair
Unto mount Olivet; there shall he see
A man so wrung with pains, that all his hair,
   His skin, his garments bloddy be.
Sin is that press and vice, which forceth pain
To hunt his cruel food through ev'ry vein.

   WHo know not Love, let him assay
And taste that juice, which on the cross a pike
Did set again abroach, then let him say
   If ever he did taste the like.
Love is that liquor sweet and most divine,
Which my God feels as blood; but I, as wine.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spring Studies

In the next several postings, I will be doing some photographic studies of springtime at High Meadow Farm.  I have mostly studies of flora, but hope to have more on fauna as the opportunities arise.  It seems that the calves next door never show up when I have my camera, but I'll keep trying!

"... a heaven on earth: for blissful paradise
Of God the garden was, by him in the east
Of Eden planted;"  

Paradise Lost, Book IV, Lines 209-210
by John Milton

Additionally, in honor of our Lord as we remember the week of His passion, I'll be posting some particularly beautiful passages from Milton, Donne, and Herbert.  It seems only fitting to me that the beauties of springtime be juxapositioned with the the rigors and sufferings of our Lord's passion, for the paradox of his work is worthy of study.  

Spring Rains

"Come, let us return to the Lord:
for he has torn us, that he may heal us;
he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.
After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will raise us up,
that we may live before him.
Let us know; 
let us press on to know the Lord;
his going out is sure as the dawn;
he will come to us as the showers,
as the spring rains that water the earth."
~ Hosea 6:1-3
God declares himself to us in two ways:  through His word (both written, and the Word made flesh) and in His creation; and it is through His creation, specifically springtime, that I am gently reminded of His word of hope, of newness, of redemption.  The cold hardness of our hearts begins to warm and soften under the work of his sun and soft rain, and there begins to stir the hope of seed laid dormant.  Dare we hope for life?Sometimes, however, the workings of the Lord are not so soft and gentle, and he tears us as a plowshare tears fallow ground.  He strikes us down as a gardener prunes his vines.  But, he does these things that he may heal us; that he may cause us to grow in the way that is best.  

If you note, though, in verse 2, the Shepherd of our souls was first the Lamb that was torn and struck down in order to rise again; in order to defeat sin and death, in order to bring us out of our cold, dead lives into life abundant.  This is a sure thing.  So let us press on, as Hosea says, to know the Lord; for he comes to us as the spring showers, the spring rains that water the earth.  "O, Lord, rain upon the fallow coldness of our hearts that life may come once again."