The spring garden catalogues are filling my mailbox and I enjoy leisurely paging through the offerings. I am beginning to make choices for additions to my garden. God has given us an amazing variety plants and fruit bearing trees and bushes.
Before long tulips and lilies will begin to poke through the soil in my flower bed. When the warm weather comes, lilacs and peonies will add a sweet scent to the air.
Currants will be the first berries to ripen, closely followed by strawberries and raspberries. The tart red currants and the abundant raspberries provide an afternoon of delight for the grandchildren. The littlest ones have asked in the middle of winter, “Do you have raspberries in your yard?” The hope expressed on their faces makes me smile.
This little poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow took my thoughts in a new direction. What if I thought of relationships in terms of a garden?
Kind hearts are the gardens, Kind thoughts are the roots. Kind words are the flowers, Kind deeds are the fruits.
Take care of your garden and Keep out the weeds, Fill it with sunshine, Kind words and kind deeds.
This poem expands the meaning of fruitful, my word for 2016.
Over the past couple weeks I have encountered Henry Wadsworth Longfellow twice. I picked up a coffee table book at a home I was visiting. The book had beautiful photos, enticing recipes and quotes from famous writers. One of the quotes was from Longfellow and I wrote it down. I was touched by his words about gardens. (The quote will appear in a future post.)
Jennifer Chiaverini’s novel, Christmas Bells, gives vignettes of Longfellow’s life. He encountered tragedy and lived through the pain and turmoil of the Civil War. Towards the end of the Civil War he wrote the poem, “Christmas Bells”. You may have heard it sung. The first line is “I heard the bells on Christmas Day . . .”
The scenes from Longfellow’s life are paired with the story of a modern day family. It was a little challenging for me to grasp the structure of the story at first. This modern story was composed of one scene viewed from the perspective of about six people. Each sees the events that take place a little differently during a children’s choir rehearsal. They are singing “Christmas Bells” of course.
I was really pleased to read the history behind the poem, “Christmas Bells” and I am inspired to read more of Longfellow’s poetry. Personal tragedy and the war almost drove the poet to despair, but he finished his poem with this stanza.
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead: nor doth he sleep! The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Note: The photo of the bells and the engraving of Longfellow are via Wikimedia Commons and are public domain.