He maketh me to lie down in green pastures,
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul.
Psalm 23: 2-3
My back conforms to the canvas chair - striped green and white like an awning - like garden-party favors - as I rock back and forth, catching the morning breeze. I am still surprised by the green - I who spent years in the deserts of Arizona living with volcanic rock and cactus, painted-pebble yards and cinder block walls. Even the name sounds dry and sere.
I am mesmerized by the color green. Variety of hues indescribable, too many to catalog. These shades are not labeled in jumbo crayon boxes, prismacolor pencils, acrylics and oils; they are subtle. Startling.
Cool and refreshing.
It calms me, this green. Makes me feel subtle and cool, like the slip of water over algae-coated rocks in a glassy stream. Like the inexorable climb of ivy, reaching, clinging, then anchoring. Like unfolding leaves and shoots of new grass. Like venerable tree trunks with north-facing velvet cloaks of moss.
It recharges me, this green. Growing. Reaching. Ripening. I look for it each spring, after winter. Walking the yard, the neighborhood, camera in hand, lens narrowing my vision, focusing my eye. The first green. It is hope. It is promise. It is faith. It is real.
Sitting on the balcony, mesmerized by green - and life goes on. Not just growing things. The shadow of a hawk sweeps across the lawn below, fleeting and bold. Red, red cardinals streak through the canopy of leaves, and stop to pose against evergreen-deep limbs of feathery needles, sharp and soft. Contrast.
Life goes on. Sitting on the balcony, rocking, my mother tells me about her plans for the day. She is one-thousand miles distant yet close as the words we share. The lives we share. Daily. I remember the days when a phone call was anchored to the wall. I remember writing letters and waiting. I remember libraries and card catalogues. But life goes on and I gladly use this technology that keeps me close to those I love. Contrast.
Life goes on and my husband works. Away and busy, purposeful. Life goes on and airplanes careen from the sky, rockets flare across desert cities, children ride busses to temporary homes, soldiers watch while families wait, secrets are told, newspapers sold, marriages made, and politics rage.
Life goes on and I am surrounded by green. I rock back and forth, catching hope in the gentle air, breathing in promise of a new day, held in verdant, growing faith that all will be well. It is real - life goes on.
Thank you for reprieve from today's headlines. Thank you for green.
Help me to keep your green pastures in my heart as life goes on.
Help us to find your myriad hues and purpose.
Help us to live in you.