“See how the flowers of the field grow? They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all of his splendor was dressed like one of these.” – Matthew 6:28-29
Four-leaf clovers are rare, with only about one in 10,000 plants. They’re an ancient Irish symbol of luck, believed to help people see fairies and avoid their mischief.
Over the years I’ve found a few four-leaf clovers . . . never saw a fairy . . . and have been no stranger to mischief. So much for that Celtic belief 😊
However . . . perhaps my luck is about to change.
Did you ever wonder if senior ‘Forget-Me-Not’s start to go senile and begin to forget? . . . me neither 😊. I do know they all have 5 petals and, as you can see in the picture, I found one with 6 petals!
Couldn’t find what those odds are, but I do know there’s lots more clover out there than there are ‘Forget-Me-Not’s . Consequently, I’m contemplating buying a lottery ticket, but reserving a modicum of mischief to keep life exciting . . . and my wife mildly aggravated 😊
Uncertainty is a certainty of life. I can’t help but wonder if King Solomon, who exceeded all the kings on earth in riches and wisdom, had this in mind when he penned Proverbs 16:9 . . .
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord established their steps.”
I planned to be in the Greatland today, but I’m still here in the Great Smoky Mountains. Disappointed? Perhaps a tinge. But then, as I sat gazing out over the Smokies, I had a Divine Ah-Ha instant . . . a patch of sunlight highlighted a small cluster of flowers on the forest floor – Forget-Me-Nots.
Ditching my momentary, selfish little pity-party I suddenly realized, in a world rift with poverty, sickness, and dysfunction of every type, how so undeservedly fortunate I am. Ashamed and humbled, I sensed His encouraging reminder to – Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgements, and His paths tracing out.” – Romans 11:33
Climbed up on the mountain this afternoon, hoping to catch sight of Bubba or Beefus . . . No luck. Evidently, they have other ‘priorities’ this time of year that take precedence to entertaining old duffers like me 😊
However, I was treated to some spectacular Nature eye candy. Here’s a couple pics of vivid red Indian Pinks and brilliant white daisies dotting the forest floor that was mine to enjoy.
No doubt the soil from which these beauties sprung was enriched in part by Bubba and Beefus ‘calling cards’. In case you’ve unfamiliar with Ursusamericanus ‘calling cards’, I’ve included this ‘fresh’ pic of one I nearly stepped in on today’s wander . . . Smile! . . . I couldn’t resist a juvenile moment 😊
Sharing our Smoky Mountain digs with Mother Nature’s menagerie keeps the guest list in a constant state of flux.
Smoky and his clan are regular visitors, and among them are Bubba and Beefus. These two large, dominant boar bears are not the best of buddies, especially during the late May to early July black bear mating season when their girlfriends take precedence.
Today Bubba wandered by with a somewhat mangled muzzle and his left eye swollen shut. I thought about asking him what Beefus looked like but, as the pic depicts, he didn’t appear to be in a conversational mood ☹. Perhaps he was upset because, even though he’s a senior bear, his injuries aren’t covered under Medibear . . . I know . . . that was really bad 😊
The average breeding age for black bears is 3 1/2 years. However, the intense competition from older, bigger males pretty much eliminates younger males from becoming amorous with the ladies. Boars that encounter sows with cubs will sometimes kill the cubs to initiate estrus and breeding. The biggest bears in the population are promiscuous, prolific breeders. Their girlfriends aren’t chaste either, often having more than one mating partner.
Bears exhibit one of Nature’s fascinating adaptive phenomena . . . delayed implantation. The fertilized eggs (blastocysts) do not implant in the uterine wall until the start of denning season come winter. Should the female fail to attain sufficient body fat or weight during the summer and fall, the embryos will not attach to the uterine wall and develop.
If I’m able to capture a pic of Beefus I’ll send it along so we can surmise who successfully rendezvoused with the girlfriend, and if Bubba is the one wishing he had stuck with foraging acorns.
“ God made the wild animals according to their kinds . . . And God saw that it was good.”
This pic popped up today on my On This Day app from 19 years ago. I had hiked up into Alaska’s Talkeetna Range, shed my boots, and was basking my 10 little piggies in the sunshine . . . obviously I’m not into pedicures 😊
I remember that day. Gazing out over the snow surrendering in Spring’s retreat from approaching Summer. It was one of those Alone With Dad times in creation I so cherish. His mountain cathedrals are my mediation chapel. There, in the hush of silence, God’s magnificence dwarfs my minuteness, and . . . I ponder . . . I listen . . . and my soul is refreshed.
In the aftermath of one of my life’s greatest disasters, I sat in overwhelming gratitude of how truly blessed I was to be there. Two things occupied my thoughts . . . friends who had stood by me, and secrets that had devastated me.
A gifted writer friend recently posted on their blog, “Secrets are something you’d be ashamed of if anyone found out. Things that are private aren’t anyone else’s business.” It’s oxymoronic that there would be no need for secrets without anyone else to keep them from, or better yet, if everyone could be trusted to keep them.
I’m convicted and humbled sharing my ‘ashamed secrets’ with the One who knows my every one, assured that He will never reveal them to anyone. ‘Fessing up”, He reminds me they all have been forgotten and forgiven . . . so Divinely freeing!
‘Ashamed secrets’ (we all have them) aren’t so readily sharable. The fear of rejection from others who don’t know them, and may not forgive and forget, keep them hidden . . . but they linger . . . whispering “Remember when you ______? “, discouraging and dampening life’s joys.
I’m genuinely thankful and appreciate my every friend. Their crucial “…two are better than one…” support have richly blessed and eased my life’s journey. Friends come in three genres, distinguished by their relationship and trust levels:
Casual – “Hello. Good to see you again. How’s everything?”
Good – “What’s new? Anything I can help out with? Let’s get together sometime.”
Confidant – “I’m struggling and need to share and pray together with you about it.”
It’s with my trusted few Confidants where I “…confess your sins one to another…”, sharing in open, honest transparency my ‘ashamed secrets’. Doing so releases cathartic, joyous freedom from the fearful prison of ‘ashamed secrets’ being found out, and of being rejected.
Three characteristics identify my treasured “…sticks closer than a brother…” Confidants:
They listen without judgement, accepting me “Just as I am, not as I should be.” – Brennan Manning
They offer constructive, ‘tough love’ advice where needed.
They trust and share their failures and ‘ashamed secrets’ with me, and . . . as we pray, laugh, and cry together . . . and we heal together.
“Nothing is as freeing as a confessed sin. Nothing is as isolating as a guilty secret.”
Up here on the mountain – down in the ‘holler’ – over the ‘crick’ we experienced a large Mayfly hatch last evening. They clung to our windows and literally covered portions of our deck . . . but that’s Good News😁 . . . mayflies require clean water to breed, and large hatches indicate a healthy aquatic environment.
After spending up to two years underwater mayfly nymphs shed their exoskeletons; take flight on delicate gossamer wings as adults; and . . . Bad News😟 . . . die within 3 days after mating to give rise to a new generation. Reminds me of a sign I recently saw in Hobby Lobby . . .
Don’t Grow. It’s a Trap!😊
When we left for church this morning our windows were clear of clinging mayflies, but the deck was littered with their wings . . . without bodies??? This afternoon I spied a bird perched on a branch with a wingless mayfly body in its beak . . . ‘Body Snatcher Mystery’ solved!
Carl Sagan, brilliant astronomer, author of the most sold science book Cosmos, and agnostic once said,
“Compared to a star, we are all like mayflies, fleeting ephemeral creatures who live out the course of their life in a single day.”
In the scope of eternity, we’re all on ‘mayfly time’. Compared to Carl Sagan, my intellectual prowess is Pre-K, but my faith is specific, not agnostic, in asking . . .
“Teach me to number our daysaright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)
. . . the wisdom of the One that created the incomprehensibly immense cosmos and named its every star in it; designed the gossamer wings of every mayfly; and formed me . . . loved me . . . and saved me from the brevity of life and the permanence of death . . . Forever!
Strong thunderstorms last evening orchestrated one of my favorite Creation symphonies . . . the soothing staccato of raindrops dancing on a metal roof.
Local forecasts predicted clearing by late morning, nixing a spectacular sunrise photo opt. However, living in the Great Smoky Mountains for the past eight years has taught me some of her creation-scape schemes, and a ‘Smokin’ idea developed . . .
I suggested that if my wife would arise before daybreak to accompany me up into the mountains to snap some photos, I’d treat her to a scrumptious, fat-dripping, calorie-laden breakfast at Eliviras, a local restaurant renowned for its cuisine . . . Deal! . . . occasionally I can still convince her to go along with one of my irrational ideas . . . after all . . . she did marry me 😄
Light fog transitioned to patches of denser fog on our early morning upward journey. Finally. breaking above the mists, we pulled off at an overlook and I broke out my camera.
Eliviras breakfast was 5***** and plentiful! . . . our to-go box held ½ of her Breakfast Scramble and ½ of my Mountain Man omelet . . . breakfast tomorrow 😊
Was trading some extra shut-eye for a few shutter-snaps worth it? Here’s a few pics . . . you decide.
“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist”
I’ve had the privilege of watching the incredible aeronautic skills of the Blue Angels soaring through the skies, vicariously wishing it was me in the cockpit. I’m certain those amazing Navy jet jockeys would be fearfully gripping their joysticks if they knew what this ole Marine ragamuffin was contemplating😊
This morning, listening to the Canadian Tenors perform Watching Over Me at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, my spirit soared. It reminded me that His angels are constantly watching over us.
OK, I’m aware my ADHD (Active Delusional Haywire Dementia) is ever-operational and has no ‘Off’ switch (Who just say, “Really?”😊) . . . but it got me to ‘a-musin’. Hope you’ll ‘bear’ with me for a tad once again.
Perhaps, on yesterday’s woods wander I missed the silent message butterflies and birds whispered, and my post should have been more appropriately titled Blue Angels.
Soooooo . . . ‘Black and Blue’ post has been revised to ‘Blue Angels’; the black bear vid-clip deleted (Sorry Smoky ☹); and the comforting chorus from Watching Over Me added below. If you have the chance, googling the Canadian Tenors Royal Conservatory of Music inspirational performance reassures that we’re not navigating this oft difficult earth-bound journey solo.
There will always be the shining sun There will always be the rising of the sea There will always be an angel watching over me
“For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways”
Standing at Bald River Falls, its roaring cascades misting my face, I simultaneously sensed my minuscule smallness and God’s magnificent greatness.
Then my gaze focused on the remains of two tree trunks mid-falls . . . it was as though they were trying to hold back the tumultuous flow . . . how so often like my prideful, minuscule resistance to do things my way in lieu of yielding to God’s magnificence and plans for my life.
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”(1 Peter 5)
. . . soooo . . .
“Give all your worries and care to God, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
Standing at Bald River Falls, the words of my old German grandmother echoed through the liquid thunder . . . “Freddy, you’re too soon old and too late smart” 😊