Taking a closer look at God's gifts...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Humble beauty...

There are few things in nature as common (or prolific) as the dandelion. Although most of us spend a lot of time yanking them out of our lawns, they're really quite beautiful where they bloom wild and free. A field of yellow dandelions blooming midst the fresh, green, springtime wash of new leaves, grass, and other plant life is downright cheerful.
But like every other thing in nature, dandelions grow old, shrivel, and ultimately die. Before they fade away forever, though, they give us one last look at their beauty, which by this time has been transformed from the brilliant yellow petals into the white, fluffy, wispy seeds that fly away at the slightest breeze. As adults, we often dread the spread of those seeds, knowing that a good share of them will find their way into our cultivated yards and gardens. On the other hand, no one can deny reaching down to snap the stem of one of those fluffy-headed plants as a youngster and blowing the seeds into the air to scatter where they may. For that matter, who can't remember grabbing a handful of the yellow blooms and trudging home with a fist full of beautiful flowers for mom? There are few mothers in the dandelion-friendly parts of the world who haven't pulled a vase out of the cupboard to house that precious gift from her child.
I sometimes wonder if God, in His mighty wisdom, didn't provide a foolproof way for dandelions to scatter far and wide using the wonder and delight of His children--His little children, that is. After all, children are innocent; dandelions are humble. What a wonderful combination of traits for God to use to spread the beauty of His creation!
See you along the trail...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Winter's icy grip

It's been a grueling winter up here in Anchorage, Alaska. Heavy snow, cold temps, and blustery winds have teamed up to make this season a near record-breaker and even with spring officially here, winter has yet to lessen its icy grip on us. We're within an inch or two of breaking the snowfall record since Alaska became a state. The snow lies waist-deep in our yard and we'll be lucky to see grass by June. Wouldn't you know we'd be up here during one of the worst winter seasons ever?

Despite my complaining, though, there's been a lot to be grateful for this winter. We've had our share of dreary, cloud-covered days, but we've also been blessed with lots of sunny days and starlit nights. A few cold, dark nights have yielded magnificent views of the northern lights, although I've not been one of the lucky ones to see them dance across the sky. Perhaps I'll see them again before we leave Elmendorf AFB for good, but if not, I'll be content with the numerous times I saw them while we were on Eielson AFB near Fairbanks.

Views like the one above taken from our back yard will not soon be forgotten. Yes, it's cold and dark and snowy up here and the winters begin early and end late. But the chance to live in Alaska and experience the magnificent extremes in weather and daylight, observe wildlife up close and personal, climb mountains and raft rivers, observe whales and other sealife, and feel the house move beneath my feet when an earthquake shakes the ground and rattles the dishes will probably never come again. I would never have believed it if someone had told me when I was still working and yearning for freedom that God would see fit to let me live with my daughter and son-in-law (and grandbaby Molly) in the last frontier.

But He did and I am. As always, God had the last laugh.

See you along the trail...