Since we have experienced the winter solstice, I'll take this opportunity to move halfway around the cycle of the seasons backward or forward to celebrate the season of growth and abundance.
Since we have experienced the winter solstice, I'll take this opportunity to move halfway around the cycle of the seasons backward or forward to celebrate the season of growth and abundance. I've been growing a perennial flower garden for a decade and a half. If there is anything more spiritual than growth, I dont know what it is. If there is anything more blatantly dedicated to growth than a plant ditto.
If you grow daylilies, the first weeks after the summer solstice will be a kind of Christmas in July. Many varieties of daylilies bloom in this mid-summer period, a season I love and wait for each year, but also experience with a kind of anticipated regret, knowing that each passing day according to the iron law of this hard-blooming species means that we gardeners and flower-lovers will lose the previous days entire cohort of these beautiful warriors in the battle to bring color and a fundamentally indescribable materiality into existence. This is what we mean, I think, when we speak of loving flowers: taking pleasure in living things that succeed on planet earth century after century, millennia after millennia, simply by making themselves appear attractive to species of an entirely different order of being!
This is what flowering green plants do: They attract the attention of other living things to help spread their seed and disseminate the means to perpetuate the species; in effect carrying out the same responsibility the higher animals do when we mate, reproduce, and guard our offspring with our lives. This is how we keep the world going round, obeying a command of our deepest nature. The example of flowering plants suggests that beauty, growth, the urge to survive, and the instincts to do it are all means toward achieving a single, universal goal to enable and perpetuate life.
If flowering plants have a religion, that's it. And, of course, they express it so beautifully. This is why, perhaps, some of us get wrapped up in the success, or (sad to say) failure, of so many of the plants we spend the summer with. We desire to know how well our favorites take daylilies, again are going to perform in a given season. It excites me, pleases me, to notice that the most common member of this family, the native orange-blooming so-called ditch lily, has spread its offspring to some corner of the garden where it hasn't appeared before.
In our garden plants can spread out or disseminate, or send forth new colonies, or adopt new family members into their neighborhood, because I am a lax disciplinarian and a liberal-minded ruler. Few dominions are fixed. Natural selection is given room to operate here. Things grow, expand, march forth, occupy territory. Some decline in numbers, and unfortunately a few disappear. I try to protect the smaller and more vulnerable species, but I am a distractable god, and a forgettable one, and can't keep track of everyone.
A garden (at least ours) is a living kingdom. When the echinacea or the tall phlox jump to a place near the white fence that once was occupied by what? I don't think I remember I respond philosophically. The plants in our modestly sized yard (where most people plant grass we planted flowers, shrubs, and a couple of small trees) are inspirations, not show dogs. Some of them are mutts, visitors from elsewhere who stayed. They are exempla of freedom and possibility; birth, beauty and death. Of change and the river of time. They are shooting out blossoms, firing the flower and fruit of their nature.
Reach for the skies, people. I'm with you in spirit.
A funny thing has happened in the years since I planted this garden. I began writing poems, a lot of them, a thing absent from my life for decades. This is what I think: Growing involves one intimately with the seasons. The seasons consistently faithfully give rise to certain kinds of thoughts. Thoughts that sometimes, I find, give rise to poems.
In fact, I celebrate this time of year the season of the beautiful dark as well as the time of long days and bright colors. Im drawn to the stirring pageant of the early sunsets and lingering twilights that steal the scene so impossibly early that we stop to exclaim, Where has the day gone? Though we know the answer: to the other side of the earth.
But, ah, evening. Wings of darkness closing about us. Sometimes it can feel gentle, protective, maternal, a gathering-in by nature of her children, a bedding down of the soul. I will put this effort to bed with a poem that aspires to suggest the spirituality of home, caring, family (and, perhaps, familiarity) and an enduring faith in the seasons.
Resignation at Dusk
One of those still and silent twilights,
a kiss goodnight from the earth's persistence
No one will take a vote on the sky
The pink lip along the thickly treed horizon,
the soft pouch of leafage, upturned like gloved hands
to take us down to where it is safe, and beautiful
and sky kisses earth goodnight and chants,
the prayer for forgiveness, the prayer for gentle touches,
the prayer for deeper, dream-filled journeys,
the prayer for better selves,
the remembrance of best love, held hands,
like secret things told
to a child.
("Resignation at Dusk" was published by 3288 Review, Spring 2019)
Bob Knox is a freelance journalist and author and a former assistant editor of the Old Colony Memorial.
See more here:
- David Nichtern on Spirituality and Making a Buck - Lion's Roar - January 30th, 2020
- Spiritual festival curated to bring world together in peace, love and harmony - Hindustan Times - January 30th, 2020
- The Ark brings shelter to those in spiritual need - Kern Valley Sun - January 30th, 2020
- 'Satanic wombs': the outlandish world of Trump's spiritual adviser - The Guardian - January 30th, 2020
- An Unexpected Spiritual Balm - Word and Way - January 30th, 2020
- Actors asked to find a spirituality for new Belfry production - Peninsula News Review - January 30th, 2020
- Spiritual Sounds unites a world of faiths in the East Village - amNY - January 30th, 2020
- What on Earth is wrong with Paula White, Trump's spiritual guru? - Washington Examiner - January 30th, 2020
- According to Trump's Spiritual Advisor It's Apparently Okay to Ask God to Terminate Pregnancies as Long as They're Satanic - Jezebel - January 30th, 2020
- Senior thesis Five Flights grapples with spiritual identity - Kenyon Collegian - January 30th, 2020
- Jefferson Award winner is a spiritual healer that attracts people from all over the country - WXOW.com - January 30th, 2020
- CITIZEN COLUMNIST: The value of discernment and spiritual discernment - SCNow - January 30th, 2020
- Spiritually Speaking: Jim Lehrer: To live a life of integrity - Wicked Local Sharon - January 30th, 2020
- The 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz: Returning in Spiritual Triumph - Yated.com - January 30th, 2020
- Trump's Spiritual Advisor Comes Out in Favor of Abortion - Patheos - January 30th, 2020
- Ganga yatra to invoke spirituality, focus on need to clean river - Hindustan Times - January 30th, 2020
- Tend to spiritual needs too - Bryan County News - January 30th, 2020
- I never meditated, would rather be a criminal than spiritual: Ma Anand Sheela - India Today - January 30th, 2020
- We put Jen Aniston and Gwyneth's spirituality gurus to the test - Marie Claire - January 25th, 2020
- On matters biblical, spiritual belief, and marital in the land of matoke - Daily Nation - January 25th, 2020
- Top 10 Religion and Spirituality Books for Spring 2020 - Publishers Weekly - January 25th, 2020
- Spiritual book proposes that we should nurture our souls as we would a garden -- with love and tenderness - Benzinga - January 25th, 2020
- Religion and Spirituality Books Preview: February 2020 - Publishers Weekly - January 25th, 2020
- Getting spiritual: the real essence of yoga - The Age - January 25th, 2020
- Spiritual Intervention for Crime Prevention? - The Voice St. Lucia - January 25th, 2020
- 6 Bishops on Their Favorite Saints, Spirituality - National Catholic Register - January 25th, 2020
- The spiritual poet - The News on Sunday - January 25th, 2020
- Is the Spiritual Realm more Real than the Natural? Brad Jersak | Brad Jersak - Patheos - January 25th, 2020
- Terry Crews says intermittent fasting is his fitness secret but he's actually doing it for spiritual reasons - Yahoo Entertainment - January 25th, 2020
- The role of scriptures on the spiritual path - The Navhind Times - January 25th, 2020
- Undiluted Catholicism: what the Amazon really needs - Catholic Herald Online - January 25th, 2020
- Review: 'Babette's Feast' a warmhearted exploration of the spiritual and the sensual at Lamb's Players - The San Diego Union-Tribune - January 25th, 2020
- GRHS graduate using platform to write about spiritual themes - The Glen Rose Reporter - January 25th, 2020
- Abortion is socially sanctioned, sovereignly offensive and spiritually sinful | Guestview - Pensacola News Journal - January 25th, 2020
- Material achievements and spiritual perfections - Centurion Rekord - January 25th, 2020
- Pastor's 'spiritual DNA' will live on - Impartial Reporter - January 25th, 2020
- The theologian who helped MLK see the value of nonviolence - Sumter Item - January 25th, 2020
- Why "Business Meets Spirituality" Is an Important Leadership Trend For 2020 - Thrive Global - January 19th, 2020
- The Fall of Spirituality: The Blood-Soaked History of the Cathars - Ancient Origins - January 19th, 2020
- In this art gallery, conversations about religion and spirituality are welcome - The Oakland Press - January 19th, 2020
- A Spirituality of Aging: Deepening our Wisdom Years - CatholicPhilly.com - January 19th, 2020
- Spirituality and values in the Disney universe - Evangelical Focus - January 19th, 2020
- The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s spiritual influence remembered in Steubenville | News, Sports, Jobs - The Steubenville Herald-Star - January 19th, 2020
- 5 Reasons to jumpstart your spiritual reading in 2020 - Aleteia EN - January 19th, 2020
- Big Freedia Will Bring Bounce Tunes, Spiritual Experience When She Takes the Stage at Paper Tiger - San Antonio Current - January 19th, 2020
- Meaningful Conversations Chapel Hill looks for the spiritual basis of forgiveness - The Daily Tar Heel - January 19th, 2020
- Liverpool players spiritual preparations and how club respectfully honours faith behind the scenes - Liverpool Echo - January 19th, 2020
- Local Cantors are 'The Spiritual Caretakers of the Congregation' - The Jewish News - January 19th, 2020
- The 12 Best Mayan Sites to See in Guatemala - Fodor's Travel - January 19th, 2020
- Father beat children secluded on Ruinerwold farm with "spiritual sword": Report - NL Times - January 19th, 2020
- SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING: What will your legacy be? - Wicked Local - January 19th, 2020
- The Ummah Chroma to Launch Spiritual & Meditative Installation at Het Nieuwe Instituut - HYPEBEAST - January 19th, 2020
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Pray for the president's spiritual aligning with Scripture - Anniston Star - January 19th, 2020
- Spiritually Speaking: 2020 vision for the New Year | Eden Prairie Opinion - SW News Media - January 19th, 2020
- The Shepherd and the Shrink | Dexter duo launches podcast combing spirituality and psychology - thesuntimesnews.com - January 12th, 2020
- Spirituality Has Long Been Erased From Art History. Heres Why Its Having a Resurgence Today - artnet News - January 12th, 2020
- Expert says medical professionals need better training on spiritual care - Crux: Covering all things Catholic - January 12th, 2020
- Its possible to be spiritual without following religious practices - Hindustan Times - January 12th, 2020
- Religion and Spirituality Book Deals: January 8, 2020 - Publishers Weekly - January 12th, 2020
- The history of scientists dismissing spiritual experiences - The Week Magazine - January 12th, 2020
- Spiritual New Year's resolutions - The News Star - January 12th, 2020
- Dubais Demand for Niche Spiritual Retreats on the Rise - Skift - January 12th, 2020
- Spiritual Medium Yesenia Berbiar Aims To Heal Hearts By Connecting With Departed Family Members - KHTS Radio - January 12th, 2020
- Spiritual editorial: Last year in the rear view mirror - NorthcentralPa.com - January 12th, 2020
- Spiritual Alphabet Soup of Death and Dying - Thrive Global - January 12th, 2020
- KEEPING THE FAITH: Local spiritual leaders respond to recent national violence - Evening News and Tribune - January 12th, 2020
- Faith and Values: Look outward for spiritual growth in the new year - The Spokesman-Review - January 12th, 2020
- GOD SQUAD: Spiritual New Years resolutions - CTPost - January 12th, 2020
- Bill Tinsley: Develop a physically and spiritually healthy heart - StarNewsOnline.com - January 12th, 2020
- Czech out Svickova Na Smetane and get spiritual about bread: this week's food events in Eastern Iowa - The Gazette - January 12th, 2020
- The spiritual meaning of the word - magviral - January 12th, 2020
- I have faced the roughest time in my spiritual walk, Rose Muhando - The Standard - January 12th, 2020
- Blackbird, Regnum Christi, and the Legacy of Spiritual Abuse - Patheos - January 12th, 2020
- Music And Spirituality At 'Rising Song' Event - Jewish Week - January 5th, 2020
- Divine grace found in messiness of imperfect life - Times Colonist - January 5th, 2020
- Shamanism in Nepal: Inside the practices and spiritual world of Jhakri - The Independent - January 5th, 2020
- The three most important walks of existence: spirituality, relationships, and career success | By Judith Nwadigo - Qwenu! - January 5th, 2020
- Oddity is an Earthbound spiritual successor that used to be a fan sequel - PC Gamer - January 5th, 2020
- Mother Teresa's former spiritual advisor accused of raping boy more than 1000 times - LGBTQ Nation - January 5th, 2020
- Spiritually Speaking: What will your legacy be? - Wicked Local Westwood - January 5th, 2020