Garden Lullaby

Magic of California Autumn // The September Garden

It’s eating fresh-picked, late-summer blackberries on the first day it feels like autumn is in the air. It’s how you are soaking in the last vestiges of summer but enraptured by every gust of wind making a leaf flurry center stage. And you just there in the front seat.

It’s the first day you’re outside and the air around you has suddenly shifted. It’s the first huge rain that comes down in buckets and cats and dogs and every other rain idiom you can think of.

It’s the warmth of the sunshine, but the coolness of the shade. It’s how every last day in the garden is heightened in its enjoyment as the season slowly turns. It’s how long these lasts last.

This is the magic of California Autumn.

Summer hangs on tightly. Spring even seems to show itself. The bursts of life are so bright against the dying leaves now piling in the garden. Yet even these blooms, bright as they may be, have an older look to them.

The garden as a whole does not seem near as playful. California Autumn is a gentle thing. Not dramatc. Not rushed. Not swayed by our opinions or impatience. It changes when it does. Wraps us in sunshine. Finds us in the garden with a plethora of zinnias, barefeet, babies lying on colorful quilts and us lying in the grass.

The September Garden has been absolutely stunning. Even its abundance, it does not have the youthful blush of spring, but I wouldn’t want it too. It’s beautiful when framed by our little corner of the world about to storm. It holds its own as the year gets old and the leaves fall and gather.

Every color, every rose bloom carefully bursting, every last long and warm afternoon has an enchantment only to be tasted this time of year.

And we are full.

Full having spent a year wrapped in the blessings of the Lord, welcoming our second child, experiencing our best garden season to date, pushing our son in the swing for months on end, back and forth, watching him grow right before our eyes, cultivating life inside and outside the garden gate.

The magic of California Autumn is the beauty and excitement experienced within it despite the lack of pomp and circumstance. And the joy of autumn itself is gathering up the stories of your year and sitting within the goodness of God. Maybe not making sense of everything, but knowing with certainty that nothing makes sense without Him.

And here you are. Perhaps a bit like my September Garden.

Abundance and weariness. Blooming but not youthful. Radiant as you weather the storm and those yet to come. It’s beautiful here in a way spring can never attain. Beautiful in a way hard to explain.

So I’ll go barefoot in autumn and be smitten by the novelty of it.

A Happy Fall, indeed.

Garden Lullaby · Poetry

Here Lies // Poem for Soul’s Autumn & Winter

HERE LIES

O let strong oaks be spindles!
Let gardens be dormant.
Let wildflowers wonder when.
Let frost have a jab at winning.
I am not lost in the waiting!
I’ll sit in the last of the flowers.
I’ll get wrapped in damp cold
like small seeds in
darkness.
I’ll count all the storms that bring
new spring
without longing
for new life
on my terms.
I’ll wait, wait, wait!
A graveyard
of frost and old leaves,
but never a graveyard
of lost things.
I’m a gravestone that can’t
be made.
(and how it has been tried!)
instead my souls says,
without epitaph and all confidence,
“herein lies Hope!”

-S.V.F.


The photo below was taken the summer before we found out we were pregnant November 2019. At this point (almost 3 years of infertility), I was finally awake to life. I still experienced hard nights, that gut empty feeling, but I was ALIVE to life. God’s doing in every possible way.

The day before I found out I was pregnant with Shasta, a leaf fell on my head and I experienced so much joy in just that simple thing. It was a tangible sign of my soul healing. The next morning I was laughing in the bathroom with a positive pregnancy test.

And that was the second miracle.❤


My Son’s Laughter-Filled Birth

My Daughter’s Powerful Birth

Why I’m Still Writing About Infertility

Garden Lullaby

Sometimes I’m Too Scared

The days are slowly getting shorter and while leaves are on the ground and we’ve experienced some blessed cooler weather, spring and summer lingers wherever it can in the garden.

I see it in my zinnias, in my rose bushes squeezing in every last bloom possible, the new growth on the tips, the wild grape vine heavy with grapes that make your face scrunch up tight.

September is a bit like April here.

The days can be almost perfect, but the window is short and can be sporadic. I’m soaking in every last long, gentle garden day before the world really does turn to fall and winter.

With the breeze, the trees swaying, the leaves falling and the music playing in the garden, it’s been stunning. To say the least.

It’s been in this magic garden season I taught my son how to lie down in the grass. Head down and everything. Like the green grass was your pillow. He didn’t know he could do that. He was tentative at first. But the marvel of it, his curiosity, and my persistence to help and show him how, won out.

So my rambunctious 2-year-old and I have been lying in the grass side-by-side and enjoying our lives. It’s been a highlight for him (and for me!). This new discovery of lying in the grass comes up in conversation at bedtime. He invites me to it when we go out to the garden. He just had no idea something like this existed. That grass wasn’t just for walking, but for lying down. For resting your head in it.

A flood of tears pricked my eyes when I recalled how similar I was to my son. Psalm 23. God makes me to lie down in green pastures. He is persistent I experience this rest and peace! I am laden with the cares of the world, crippled by fear, overwhelm, anxiety, or whatever it may be, but God shows me how to lie down. He helps me do it. Like I helped my son. Head down and everything. I don’t always know I can. I don’t always believe those green pastures are for me in whatever tiring season or painful thing I’m experiencing. Sometimes I’m too scared to lie down, to let my guard down, to embrace joy, to let it be happy or good, to be immersed in blessings.

But I am free to be a child.

To lie down, have a pillow made of grass, and my shoulders relieved of burden. I can spread my arms straight out, face the blue sky without fear, and be a kid. This is being in the presence of God. And God is with me always.

It is always safe to lie down.

Which is the poetic way of saying. . .safe to be, safe to enjoy God’s good gifts, safe to sleep, safe to share my emotions, safe to delight, safe to live in fullness and peace, though life may feel broken and misshapen, or on the brink of breaking. “He maketh me lie down in green pastures” is a beautiful word picture of God being a Father to us. And we are blessed when we let our hearts and souls be fathered by the Great I Am.

We are stiff and tired adults always learning what it means to be God’s children. And He is so good to us. Soon we find ourselves letting the sky be blue, soaked in laughter despite long nights ahead, at peace as though goodness and mercy follow us all the days our life. Oh wait, that’s right! They do!!

So we lie down in the green grass.

Head down and everything.


Parallel

laughter and This Is How!
Yes, even your head down in it!
two-years-old, and it’s a magic trick,

to lie down in grass
like this.
and we’re loving it,
this learning how,
such chaotic stillness,
Us
mother and son,
snowangels
in summertime.
then tears, like waves
on shoreline, gather, swell,
recede. I’m just like him.
I’ve done this before, over
and over again.
leaning back, brace for impact,
finding grass instead.
my heart beats home,
feels heavenward, oh,
peace!
so, it’s okay to laugh!
to lie down here like this,
head down
and everything.
me, a mother, a woman,
a child, me,
like this.
breathe!
“The Lord is my Shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down
in green pastures.
He leads me beside
still waters. . “
My son and I in the garden.
September blue in the sky.
leaves I loved in flush of spring
waltz right off forever.
late summer meanders by,
and in this Parade
of seasons changing,
there’s no season
changing
here.
it’s Psalm 23,
Me Wanting For Nothing,
surely Goodness
and Mercy,
the Lord as my
Shepherd,
for all of my days,
for the Whole
of my Life forever,
breathe!

Poetry

Limping Wings// A Poem for Staying in Your Life

I had no idea I’d get a rose this big when my little garden began alongside my limping heart on Mother’s Day 2018. It just took about four years to bloom this big, but less than that for me to lift my head and love the life I had.

My encouragement to you is STAY.

Stay in your life. Stay in your days. Stay in your walk with God. It may not turn out the way you wanted it to initially, but in the staying, there will be good, radiance, comfort, stunning gifts and blessings from God.

And you will be blown away by it.


Limping Wings, Trying

I see you
with your
limping wings,
trying to smell
the roses,
catching yourself
on thorns
instead.lift your head
and breathe.
you’re in the garden
aren’t you?
all in
and halfway there!go on, try again.
there’s no rushing
this kind of
life.
you fell
hard
somewhere
good.

-S.V.F.