When I left the house, it wasn't as hot as it's been just about every day for the last week, but hot enough for me to know that by the time I'd return, I'd be wet, but then that doesn't take much. All I have to do is step out the door.
East, along the river bank, a blaze of yellow not only caught my eye, it almost blinded me. Coneflowers are taking over Sioux County these day and they are huge. That Memorial Day flood on the Floyd gave life and breath to multitudes, swarms of pure gold.
So I turned around, grabbed a little camera from the shelf, and headed back towards the river. This is what I saw at Dunlop Park, a little blessing along Hwy. 10, Orange City's own gift to the neighborhood which has become, I should say, my neighborhood.
Ignorance is bliss. I'm almost sure that most of the flora I saw were weeds, or at least non-desirables. No matter. Light is grace. Sprinkle a little down the path and light itself--morning light or light of dawn--will glamorize refuse, make it breath-taking.
Look at this.
I'd whack it out of the lawn. I've got no idea what it is, but when grace abounds, when light hits like this, you'd swear the Fall was the dream of snickering curmudgeons.
I have absolutely no idea what makes art. I'm ignorant of line and color. All I know for sure is what's here is somehow plain wonderful. In another hour, maybe not so. But for the time being, this incidental composition captures eye and soul. What does that do to our theology?
Whole sections of the path are threatened by swarming morning glories fully capable, sweet white flowers and all, of choking everybody else out. There's little to separate them from that dirty rotten crone, creeping jenny, but don't be deceived; they're plotting against you. You may think the showy piety is a witness, but turn your back and they'll steal you blind.
Still, in morning light, they're so worshipful.
I'm a victim of my Calvinist upbringing. It's a burden I can't loose from my shoulders. Everywhere I look I see sermons. Some woodpeckers spent a season creating this domicile, even looks used. Not long ago, perhaps, a couple of downies may well have raised a family, and the kids are off to college. For someone, at least, it's home--or was. The birds have their nests and foxes have their holes. . .well, you know.
I don't think farmers are complaining right now--we've had our share of rain. But the river is so miserably low that it's a creek. A neighbor and his boys took a canoe out not long ago and spent more time trudging through muddy river bottom than paddling. Wasn't a good time.
Islands like this abound now, post flood. On Memorial Day you wouldn't have recognized the Floyd River. It was angry and swollen and threatening bridges like some crazed killer high on meth. When that overdose dissipated, what was left was huge mounds of dirt and sand, like this, where once there was nothing but river bed. I don't understand the physics of it, but that flood--some called it a century flood--changed the face of the things, the way profound events always do. Call them scars, if you will. Or call them memories. What's clear is that they're here.
Till the next flood.
Maybe, maybe not. In a world captivated by Miley Cyrus, Mother's wisdom is idiocy.
Still. Who'd a thunk this all that pretty?
And finally this. I hope it's not racist.
And maybe I like it because I've been thinking so much about missions lately, my own church and its 125-year-old history on fields throughout the world. Really, if you think about the Grand Tetons, all this barely amounts to a hill of beans--which, of course, most of my neighborhood is.
When I got home my shirt was soaked with sweat, which happens. It's the price of pilgrimage, I guess. I'd put a smiley face in here, if I knew how to do it.