Friday, September 26, 2008


Alabama has famously tricksy weather. Every September, just as you start to believe that the scorching heat of summer has begun to submit to the soft hands of autumn, the temperatures reverse and you find yourself slogging through a pumpkin patch in eighty-five degree heat in a sweater and jeans. But this is my thirty-second Alabama autumn, and I won't be fooled again. I am on to you Alabama. I am as wily as leviathan and you can't catch me.

My roses are blooming again in the cooler weather. Two climbing red Don Juans are exploding on either side of my porch steps as I speak. My rambunctious Sir Thomas Liptons are putting out leaves and fragrant white blossoms. Two Marie Pavie shrubs are making clouds of soft pink flowers that smell like heaven and my lone Cecile Brunner is trying to keep up. A yellow climber has shot up past the baby's window and out a hole in the eaves. It's blooming on the roof giving my cottage a kind of elegantly ramshackle appeal. How I perceive this particular effect depends entirely on my mood. When I'm confident and happy, it's the epitome of shabby chic. When I'm depressed and tired, it's just a hole in the roof. Nevertheless, I'm happy that the baby can look at those happy flowers as she drifts off to sleep.

It's quiet in the house. In fact, I've been studying quietness. It's a lesson coming to me. I perceive it with my spiritual rabbit-ear antennae and I am swaying and twisting in the window to shake off the snow of distraction and fatigue to get better reception. (Silly Literary Device. Metaphors are for poets.)

In his commentary on First Thessalonians 4, Matthew Henry writes that it is a most desirable thing to have a calm and quiet temper and to be of a calm, quiet behavior. Satan, he writes, is very busy to disquiet us and we have it in our own hearts that which disposes us to disquiet. I'm afraid that in the wake of the worries aroused by the current economic difficulty we seem to be experiencing (or more accurately, in the wake of all the Media Coverage of the current economic difficulty we seem to be experiencing) and the lack of confidence we seem to have in the pair of boneheads running for President, it is more difficult than Henry could have imagined to ward of the disquiet of our souls. (One word of political advice: when faced with a pair of boneheads, choose the one who isn't a Communist. I'm just saying...) Surely, William Wordsworth would recognize all of this insanity as the revenge of the "Savage Torpor" with which we have been overrun.

But I feel it, nonetheless. It's an urging and a pulling of the Holy Spirit to be quiet. To be calm. Not of speech, perhaps, but of nature. I'm perceiving the message in various places and I raise my aerial high on the rooftops of my mind. (That was even worse than the first one.)

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