31 Days of Looking for the Little: Surprises

DSC02769 pepper berries

I volunteered to be a spiritual director for some faculty and staff from a nearby college who were on a one-day retreat near where I live. I was both anxious and excited about this opportunity to listen to people I did not know and prayerfully see where God might be moving in their lives.

Because my recovery from foot surgery is still progressing, I was also nervous about the grounds of this retreat site. We would be meeting outdoors and I still have some difficulty navigating uneven ground.

When I got there, I soon saw that there was a small, concrete patio behind the retreat house, already waiting with two chairs and a small table. Perfect! Thank you, Lord.

One of the things I’ve been learning throughout this long recovery is that I must carefully steward my energies and stamina. So I signed up for two directees, in the mid morning slots. About six slots were available and I chose just those two.

Between my two sessions, I sat back in my chair and tried to breathe deeply and release all the pent-up anxiety in my body. And I began to look around this small space. Just to my left, I caught this glimpse of a pepper tree, berries in full bloom.

Something about those small red berries, hanging so beautifully amid the feathery pepper greenery brought such sweetness to my heart. I find them quite lovely and am always surprised when I discover a tree in bloom with them. Clearly, it doesn’t take much to make me smile. Just a serendipitous reminder that God’s good work of creation is ongoing and lovely. It’s the little things, you know?

Just Wondering

31 Days of Looking for the Little: A Single Tree

DSC01079 butterfly beach

If you’ve read anything in this space, you know that I love trees. All kinds of trees. Great gobs of trees.

But I also have a deep fondness for stand-alone trees. Just one, out there by its lonesome, looking majestic and powerful. No, trees are not ‘little,’ but somehow a single tree falls on the ‘little’ end of the tree-scale in my mind.

This one is a particular favorite of mine. It’s a Monterey cypress tree, and it hangs over one of my favorite places, Butterfly Beach. These trees have become almost iconic in California, adorning the 17-mile drive in Monterey and showing up along the coast in lots of different places. To say nothing of the great numbers of them that are used in landscaping around all the Spanish revival homes in this area.

They are not perfect, but then who of us is? They get brittle as they age and have this nasty tendency to drop their large branches on parked cars, garages, or people who might be in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

But they are beautiful and haunting, aren’t they? They may be solitary, but they still provide shade, a lovely profile and a welcoming home to lots of different kinds of birds. I like that in a tree — and in a person, too. 

Just Wondering