What’s in a Name? Only Everything {an Advent Post}

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There can be no manner of doubt a name is more easily remembered when its meaning is understood.      –A.J. Macself, from the Foreword, “Plant Names Simplified”

I forgot to plant my amaryllis bulb the week of All Hallow’s Eve. I wrote about the practice in my Christmas season book, how planting a crinkly, brown bulb with antenna-like roots can be a lesson in patience and waiting during the Advent and Christmas season. But I was too busy to remember. Goodness.

So, I potted the inglorious bulb the other day after soaking the accompanying ground-up coconut shreds in warm water, watching them miraculously expand and nearly overtake my 32-ounce glass measuring cup. Amaryllis duly snugged into plastic container, I pondered something while I cleaned up the mess in my sink.

What does ‘amaryllis’ mean, anyway?

I’m fond of learning the Latin for plant names, shrubs and trees. As an amateur gardener, I pride myself on the pronunciation and meaning of the various denizens of my yard and garden. And some of the names are not Latin at all, but simply named for people or a place.

–Susan Magnolia

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-Japanese Stewartia

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-Shindishojo Maple

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-Lonicera (Honeysuckle)

Leafworks {a #poem}

Like the bound bud in the almost

bloomed magnolia, there is life

ready to burst, tight secrets

on the God side buried within

these cool, bright days.

I’m waiting, watching, counting

the sleeps until a quiet

wonder world awakes. Amazed,

I waltz between the longest watch

from each dormant doorway,

through the chill and darkened

mornings to a heart like an open gate.

Ear cupped, poised for my next

birth, I linger for delivery

of the morning’s message–

free and God-breathed–

a silent, green unfurling.

——-

65 is Just a Number {a #poem}

P_20180222_085138-1068896429-1545607297305.jpgThere is no statute of limitations on vision.

My old eyes register a darting messenger of
God’s blatant, creative joy. Watch the winged
creation hover in a web of air.
Spy a sleuthing intruder
snap-tapping its way
across the wood, tunneling
away and down the outside stairs.

No expiration (yet) for hearing,
cataloguing birdvoice and the
chipclacking of breakfast
at the feeder, the squeaking
insistence at the fountain.

Teach me to number my days, Lord,
to register the ways your wind
ruffles the tablecloth in the morning’s
gentle breeze, how cool, shortened
shadows signal this sea change
of a season rippling towards
quieter times.

May I live this calendar daily,
not ticking days toward the end
but aware and alive and about your
business, not counting lost hours, but
living into your addition, subtraction
multiplication, division, the only
math that matters.
c. Jody Lee Collins 2017

Quiet on the Wind {a #poem}

On the wind
His words gently breezing
through the pinwheel
turning, iridescent blue
blowing across the surface
moving gently, forcing
me to hear, “I’m here”
while I ponder slowing–
less turning, more still-
like the quiet trees
hushing, the soft branches
suspended, punctuation
placed securely on the pages
of the sky, declaring a full stop.

I’ve heard rumors of His kindness,
long to be bathed with words.
I lean in lingering,
straining for His voice.
Cupping His hand o’er my ear,
He shares secrets like a lover,
and I am washed into waking
shocked at the power
of quiet on the wind.

Cacophony {a #poem}

The chickadees are arguing
using their mad voices
to fight over the millet
and sunflowers–
Here’s a sweet ‘chirp’, there’s 
   an insistent, “cuh, cuh, cuh”
and another voice–“chick-a-dee, dee, dee.”

It’s a Bird Boardroom Brawl,
voices of different timbres and tempo
arguing about what’s on the menu.
They sound as if they’re starving, 
staking out their claim to dinner
like it’s their last meal.

Then zoom! they’re off
to another branch,
a new hiding place
as evening winds down,
and I wonder
did their mother send them
all to bed without supper 
because they wouldn’t stop fighting?

Ahhhh, they may never 
get that millet meal until morning
after all.
~~~~~
Photo: (very small) chickadee on the horizontal piece of wood