“Whatever Happens”

Forest. Soft Pastels Drawing by Teressa L. Clark.

A poem for these times from Wendell Berry.

Whatever happens,
those who have learned
to love one another
have made their way
into the lasting world
and will not leave,
whatever happens.

– Wendell Berry, 1998 I, in This Day: Sabbath Poems Collected & New 1979-2013 (Berkeley: Counterpoint, 2013), 183.

The note I wrote in the margin is “love one another.” It’s the new commandment Jesus gave after washing the disciple’s feet.

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

– John 13:34-35, NRSV

Today I’d circle the phrase “whatever happens.” The pandemic has made life seem surreal. A month ago my best beloved said, “We are living in a science fiction story.” He’s right. Whatever happens isn’t likely to be what we might have expected two months ago.

I wonder…
Are we learning to better love one another?
Are we discovering the lasting world?
Have we experienced love that will not leave?

Whatever happens, dear friends, may you know you are loved.
And may you make your way into the lasting world.

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Note about the illustration: We have been doing art (or maybe just playing) with colored pencils, watercolor, soft pastels or acrylic paints every Tuesday and Thursday since social distancing and stay-at-home orders started. But not on our own! We’re following Facebook Live Instructional Art Videos by Paula Rotshafer. Look for The Creative Quarantine public group on Facebook or click here.

Spring Leaves

Leaves on Maple Tree. Photo: TLClark, 2/25/2020.

The wind is blowing.
Again.
Or, maybe, still.

Unfolding Leaves. Photo: TLClark, 2/25/2020.

I thought about taking pictures of new leaves today.
But the tree branches won’t stay still.

New Leaves. Photo: TLClark, 2/25/2020.

So these pictures from Saturday’s stroll will have to suffice.

Crab Apple Leaves and Buds. Photo: TLClark, 2/25/202.

Posted in response to Cee’s FOTD challenge.
And because flowers and leaves always bring a smile to my face.

Flowering Trees

Crab Apple Blossoms. Photo: TLClark, 4/25/2020.

The Crab Apple visible out our back windows is gloriously pink. So I took my camera when my beloved and I went for a short stroll on Saturday.

Easy on the Eyes but not the Nose. Photo: TLClark, 4/25/2020.

Since I had the camera I paused to take pictures of the white blossoms along our street. I have no idea what they are and am to lazy to try to find out. Just want to enjoy the colors and shapes and textures.

Another White Flower. Photo: TLClark, 4/25/2020.

Posted as part of Cee’s Flower-of-Day Challenge.

Recent Reads

I’d like to say that I’ve read more since stay-at-home orders were issued in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. But I haven’t. I’m a reader at heart and have continued to read at about the same pace.

Two of the four books pictured have not been shelved because they each have something I might quote in a sermon someday (if I ever preach again!!) and I wanted to make sure I wrote them down somewhere. Here’s the somewhere.

KINDER THAN NECESSARY

“If ever single person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary–the world really would be a better place. And if you do this, if you act just little kinder than is necessary, someone else, somewhere, someday, may recognize in you, in every single one of you, the face of God.”

From Wonder by R. J. Palacio (pp 300-301)

HERE TO WONDER

I think us here to wonder, myself. To wonder. To ast. And that in wondering bout the big things and asting bout the big things, you learn about the little ones, almost by accident. But you never know nothing more about the big things than you start out with. The more I wonder, he say, the more I love.

From The Color Purple by Alice Walker (p 283)

AN INSULT

Dune has a funny insult somewhere in those 863 pages. But I didn’t mark it and I can’t find it so I guess you’ll have to read the book yourself!

MOTHERS AND SONS

I read Pachinko after reading Dune and was struck by the complex relationship between a mother and son in each book. Very different genres but rich portrayals of the people in each.

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Be kinder than necessary, friends.

And take time to wonder.

Photo Challenge – Animals

Clyde says Hello. Photo: TLClark, 2/14/2020.

My quilting friend across the street has two cats – Bonnie & Clyde. Clyde nearly always greets me at the door; the one time I had a camera with me he was much more interested in what I had in my hand than in having his picture taken (above). Bonnie typically ignores me but had just enough curiosity to sit up to see what was going on (below).

Bonnie. Photo: TLClark, 2/14/2020.

My sister’s family also has a Bonnie & Clyde. Not cats, though. Dogs.

Clyde & Bonnie. Photo: TLClark, 10/27/2019.

All the dogs at that house are loved, but the favorite is clearly the English Bulldog. I was taking pictures of my nieces and nephews last fall when one of them insisted I take a picture of Gus.

Gus. Photo: TLClark, 6/9/2019.

So there you have it – a few pictures of animals that are keeping some of my favorite people company during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Posted in response to this week’s Tuesday Photo Challenge.

Photo Challenge: Glass

Maundy Thursday Worship Table. Photo: TLCLark, 4/9/2020.

It’s a week late for Nancy Merrill’s A Photo a Week Challenge: Glass. But other than being late, I couldn’t think of a reason not to share.

The bowl of water was on our worship (aka kitchen / dining room) table for a virtual Maundy Thursday church service. We were supposed to be remembering the story of Jesus washing the disciples feet (see John 13).

But my mind wandered to Nancy’s challenge and to the shadows made by her glass mixing bowl. Click here to see for yourself!

Three types of glass are visible in both of my pictures: the bowl, the flower vases, and the living room window. The bottom picture also has reflections of the dining area windows.

Glass with Reflections. Photo: TLClark, 4/9/2020.

Look around! What shadows and reflections do you see in your corner of the world?

Photo Challenge – Hope

Canada Goose on Nest. Photo: TLClark, 3/31/2020.

“Oh, they’re back,” I thought as one Canada goose stood at attention and honked at me to stay away. Another was floating in the run-off pound. A third was sitting on the nest. Canada Geese don’t seem to ever fully leave this area; my thought had to do with the nest.

It’s a sign of hope. The pond used to be an excellent place for a goose to raise a family. Four or five years ago there would be six or more goslings there. Occasionally the parental units would stop traffic to march the young ones across the street to the larger neighborhood pond.

But then a medical building went up just south of it. And now new condos are being built to the west. I saw the geese and their nest a year ago. But never did see any goslings. Hope springs eternal.

Canada Goose & Mallard Ducks. Photo: TLClark, 3/31/2020.

The nest was my first thought for the Tuesday Photo Challenge of HOPE. So I grabbed the camera when my best beloved and I headed out for a walk yesterday. One Canada goose was on the nest; a pair of mallard ducks was nearby.

The walk itself – with proper physical distancing from whoever else might be out – provides a bit of hope in this era of COVID-19 pandemic. Getting out of the house to enjoy sunshine and blue sky is as much for our mental health as it is for physical well-being.

An annual sign of hope are swelling leaf buds. I marvel at the variety. Here are a few pictures from our corner of the world on the last day of March.

Leaf Buds. Photo: TLClark, 3/31/2020.
Leaf Buds with Shadow. Photo: TLClark, 3/31/2020.
Illusion of a Shadow. Photo: TLClark, 3/31/2020.
Look Up. Photo: TLClark, 3/31/2020.
Look In (Miniature Lilac). Photo: TLClark, 3/31/2020.

Photo Challenge: Connect

Clasp of Bracelet. Photo: TLClark, 3/27/2020.

There are so many ways to take the Tuesday Photo Challenge of connect this week! I finally settled on a piece of jewelry. Every time I wear it – or even just see it – I am reminded of love and laughter and relationships that persist across time and place.

We were all together for Thanksgiving about eight years ago. Tanya had an empty bracelet chain for each female in the clan. And dozens and dozens of beads.

Beads. Photo: TLCLark, 3/25/2020.

One by one Tanya handed each of us two or three specially chosen beads that said something about our connection, our interests, our family. She then instructed us to choose as many additional beads as we wanted to fill out our bracelets.

I picked glass beads based on my favorite color and how they would match the PROSTATE CANCER RIBBON bead Tanya had given me to honor my husband.

Glass Beads. Photo: TLClark, 3//27/2020.

Those who know me will easily guess the meanings of some beads.

  • CROSS – I’m an ordained minister.
  • SIS – Tanya is my sister.
  • TEAPOT – My husband and I drink tea (not coffee).
  • BELLS – I have a bell collection.

The CAROLERS take me back to my childhood. We looked forward to Christmas caroling as a family every year. Dad would instigate it. Mom would have treats prepared (with help from the kids!). All five of us would go because it was a family thing. We would stop at friends’ homes, sing a carol or two, and invite them to join us. More often than not, they would drop what they’d been doing and go along. At the end of the evening everyone gathered around the fireplace at our house with mugs of hot chocolate and Christmas cookies in hand.

In this time of physical distancing, may you find ways to connect with others (a phone call? a text? an e-mail? a card?). And may you be reminded of love and laughter and relationships that persist across time and place.

Photo Challenge – Spread

Quilt as Curtain. Photo: TLClark, 8/8/2013.

“Spread” was the photo challenge word on Tuesday. As Frank put it “While the spread of a virus is not welcome, a nice dinner spread or bread spread or even bed spread might be appreciated!”

As a quilter I have plenty of bed spreads around the house. But I’d shown you stack of quilts not so long ago when the photo challenge word was “rest.” (You can see it here.)

Master Bedroom. Photo: TLClark, 8/8/2013.

Then I remembered these pictures of Grandma’s quilt. Actually, it’s my quilt made by Grandma Mary. The fabric came from left-over scraps from clothes Mom had sewn for me when I was a little girl. We cut the many triangles using cardboard patterns over Christmas break 1986.

Quilt as Curtain Reflection. Photo: TLClark, 8/8/2013.

When my beloved and I moved into our current home, there were no window coverings so Grandma’s quilt became the master bedroom curtain until we could get blinds hung. The only reason I have pictures is because of the reflection of the back-lit quilt on the glass of a framed doily!