Prairie View

Friday, January 20, 2017

An Inauguration Day Celebration

Today I saw the first outdoor bloom of the 2017 year.  It was a witchhazel blossom at Dyck Arboretum in Hesston--tiny fronds of yellow on the otherwise bare branches of a tree.  My horticulturist friend Pam was the first to spot it, and she documented this phenological event with her camera.  I presume that she also recorded it inside the visitor's center where, in a nod to Aldo Leopold, the American father of Phenology, this 35th Anniversary year has been designated as a year-long celebration of  Leopold and his work.  The witchazel bloom makes today a day of celebration for people like me.  Spring and summer are coming!

Eight years ago on the day Barak Obama was inaugurated, our family also celebrated.  My mother had heart surgery several months earlier, on the Monday before Thanksgiving.  Recovery had been arduous, and she had struggled to overcome a serious bacterial infection.  During that time she could hardly eat, and we were worried that, although the surgery was successful, Mom might not regain her health.  Then, when the infection finally was conquered, things began to look up.  Mom could sleep in her own bed again instead of in the hospital bed we had moved into the living room.  On January 20 we moved the hospital bed back to the "invalid equipment barn" at Cedar Crest, and the extended family gathered to celebrate Mom's progress.  We joked with Mom about having an inauguration day party, and my cousin Eldon, who stopped in that evening for some reason, joined the frivolity, teasing Mom about her political sensibilities.

This morning I drove all the way to Hesston in very dense fog.  It was unnerving, and I prayed that I wouldn't miss my turnoff toward Hesston--and that no oncoming traffic would suddenly materialize when I was in the middle of my left turn.  Ahead of me, a semi slowed dramatically in preparation for a right turn--at the same intersection where I needed to turn left.  I saw where I was, and I was on my way north with new assurance, grateful for how the Lord worked out the little details I was concerned about.  The drive home in late afternoon was less harrowing, but still very dark, with heavy clouds overhead.  Now most of the Western sky has cleared, and the sinking sun was that hot-pink-orange, molten lava color that compels me to watch until all traces of it disappear.

Last week was the second anniversary of my mother's burial.  We have not yet passed the two-month marker since my father's death.  Having spent the day at Dyck Arboretum today reminded me of the days in early July when we had the last family gathering there.  My dad was present then and I missed him today.  Pam knew him too and extended her condolences and shared a good memory of him.  That was one of the times I missed Dad.

This was a good day to look for things to celebrate.  Memories of healing and restoration, and glimpses of rebirth in the natural world didn't set my whole world right, but, on a foggy and dark inauguration day they bring a measure of comfort and peace.  The Lord can show the way and the skies may clear, and the Son will most assuredly shine brightly, transfixing all those who gaze on Him.  This I can celebrate.


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