A Long Way East of Eden: the Seasons and Blessings and Storms

– a quick tour of the back garden

So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

Genesis 3

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. 

Revelation 22
– working in the garden

The Maul Hall back garden, as you can tell from this video clip, is on the cusp of a huge spurt of growth, and I am thankful for the thoughtful vision of whoever fenced in a relatively small area to cultivate while leaving the majority of our property (and especially my mum’s cottage next door!) in a more natural state.

It has been an idyllic week here in Wake Forest, featuring a welcome rollback in temperatures, with highs in the 60’s and lows in the 40’s. We have enjoyed an abundance of sunshine along with our trademark “Carolina Blue” skies and if I could have my way I’d bottle the whole package then roll it out every day for the next six months.

– mum’s house next door

But of course, thinking about it, it’s probably a good thing we have such seasonal variety – much as I have enjoyed the past few days. It is this unique mixture of hot and cold, rain and sunshine, colorful autumns, spectacular springtimes, rare extremes and then everything in between that have created this place we love so much.

Age or “Patina?”

Likewise with my life. I love breezy easy stress-free days. We all do. Every once in a while there will even be stress-free seasons. But the remarkable complexity and character and beauty of advancing age is the product of a lifetime of experience and learning and challenge and blessing upon blessing (see “Struggle builds character, right?“).

When I look in the mirror and see the summary of all that history, I like to call it “patina.” And when I look into my soul, and Rebekah’s, I recognize the hand of God, the One who taught Van Gogh how to paint, Bach to compose, and Michelangelo how to chip away at the marble until he found The David.

So, yes, the sunny day allowed me to get my lawnmower out and fire up the leaf blower. But our garden is the story of the cold rain and the scorching summer and hard winter and the occasional hurricane too.

But for now, and especially during this season of my life, I will happily take all the glorious spring days that I can, followed by a mild summer – please – and definitely without any major storms.

Grateful, regardless – DEREK

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