I enjoyed walking today by Ramla Bay in Malta, supposed to be one of the best beaches in the Mediterranean. Oh abundance!–jellyfish on the beach, shells, and a scatter of brilliant marble-like pebbles, which, with a few swishes in a rock tumbler, would reveal their sleek preciousness.
We hiked today to the Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temples in Malta, through picturesque garigue, covered with fragrant thyme, wild fennel, and stunted rosemary.
It reminded me of Provence, and the landscape of Marcel Pagnol’s marvellous films, La Gloire de Mon Pere et Le Chateau de Ma Mere. A wild rabbit, a pot full of rosemary, thyme, wild fennel, wild onions and wild garlic—you see how cuisine evolves from landscape. Rabbit, incidentally, is Malta’s national dish, and we had some superb rabbit yesterday, with Maltese ftira, bread smeared with olive oil, baked with a stuffing of roast chicken, tomatoes, garlic and onions.
I like Malta. I love their food, and their immense tenderness to children, a trait they share with other Mediterranean cultures like Spain and Italy. And perhaps having lived through a magical period of being a bambino or nina, smiled at and petted by all, contributes to a warm, friendly, good-natured society, as these petted children expect the best of the world, and, in general, the world and people and life correspond to our expectations. [Read more…]
I walk along the country footpaths around my house, the hedgerows full of blackberries. They’ve been out for weeks, and I’ve seen families gather them for jam or pies, but I, I’m trying to jog, and maintain my pace, or am engrossed in my audiobook, I rarely stop to taste them.
Today, I did, and oh, they were sweet, and delicious.
And ripe with allegory and metaphor.
* * *
Whole sections of our orchard have been taken over by these brambles running wild. We’ve lived here for 8 years now. What a task it’s going to be to tame it!!
Yeah, weeds grow more readily in the garden of life than apple trees; the unwanted proliferates, but in the midst of the jungle of the never-asked-for-this, don’t-want-it which is our life, there remain fat, black, sweet blackberries. In the middle of the thorniest, most ensnarled thicket.
* * *
And the question is, am I stupidly going to be too busy for the banquet?
Or am I going to slow down and savour sweetness in the midst of all the things which didn’t go according to plan, the brambles which have taken over my orchard?
Am I going to stop my mind in her I’ve-Got-To track—got to listen to this book, got to maintain my jogging pace, and instead, slowly savour this goodness given to me unasked, unbidden, freely, generously?
Fat, sweet, ripe delicious blackberries.
Today, I returned my face stained with Holy Communion. I ate those free gifts from the goodness of God.
“Abundance, I give you,” He says. “My own self, I give you. Come, eat.”
3 If you, LORD, kept a record of sins,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
Ah, that’s our hope for ourselves, our parenting, and our children. The mercy of God.
Here’s a wonderful story from Carol Wimber’s book, “The Way it Was.”
It came the same way, all at once, words and music, but it came in a flood of gratitude for the goodness and mercy of Jesus.
John left for the hour and a half drive to the airport, and he felt miserable. Not about having to go out when he was tired, but because of the way he had treated Tim. He wept over it, and told Jesus how wrong, and how sorry he was, and was just planning how he would apologise to Tim, when the car was flooded with the love of God. Overwhelmed with God’s mercy, his head and heart filled with the words and music:
Isn’t he beautiful? Beautiful, isn’t he?
Prince of Peace, Son of God, isn’t he?
Isn’t he wonderful? Wonderful, isn’t he?
Counselor, Almighty God, isn’t he? Isn’t he? Isn’t he?
He taught us that sweet Jesus song the next Sunday. It is amazing how fast the Holy Spirit-given songs go around the world. They fly on the wings of the wind.”
Hast thy dark descending, and most art merciful then.”
Spring in the garden. A rhapsody indeed.
White Cherry blossoms. Daffodils! Cowslips. Flowering Judas tree. Forget-me-nots. Bright red tulips in my garden!
And fritallaria. These were never easy for us to establish in Virginia, so it a joy to see how easily they spread here.
We found a few wild ones in our paddock the year we first bought the house, and transplanted them to our main garden so that we could enjoy them more. However, as I walk there this year, I see more, and more.
Nature’s munificence tells us something of the goodness of God!
This flower, below, Fritallaria Meleagris, which we have in our paddock is also known as the Checkered Lily or Guinea Hen Flowers, or Snake’s Head Fritillary.
It was a regular feature in Elizabethan gardens. “The checkered lily was once in fact native of damp meadows throughout Northwestern Europe, but is today disappearing over much of its natural range from habitat loss and humanity’s population intrusions. It became endangered in England, where children picked them before they could complete their reproductive cycle. It is now protected and making a slow comeback in the south of England. And it will never be extinct for as long as people love them in gardens.”