Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
April 13, 2014
Ah, the glory and grandeur of springtime!
Springtime! I love this gentle season that is so welcome after a harsh winter. It is a glorious time of the year!
I love walking in our yard and observing dead leaves being pushed aside by colorful green, yellow and white blossoms. Dismal colors are being replaced by the extravagant colors of spring.
All about me are azaleas, dogwoods, blueberry and plum bushes begging to be admired. Their bright colors seem to be shouting, “Spring is here! Wake up old man and share our delight!”
The daffodils sprang to life first, a few weeks ago. Most of their blooms are gone now. But I never greet the new daffodil without remembering my wife’s mother Sarah Brown. She planted the daffodils in our yard and whenever those harbingers of spring bloom, I thank God for Sarah.
Our “knockout” roses are waking up, their luxurious green leaves hiding tiny rosebuds. The huge oaks are coming alive, their barren limbs soon to be adorned with green foliage. The red Maple tree, a gift from Mark’s sons – John, Anthony and Robert – is flourishing in our front yard.
Oh how I wish the azalea blooms would stay with us longer! Alas, their lush blossoms have such a short life. Therein is an important lesson. We should not take them for granted and not miss a moment to enjoy the beautiful blooms that are so soon departed. Fortunately our azaleas take turns blooming so we can enjoy them for a few days longer.
Day lilies are every where; though not blooming they are pregnant with new life. My mother Caroline loved day lilies. She raised dozens of them and prided herself in nurturing many different varieties.
For many years, whenever my wife and I came home for a visit, Mama insisted that we take some day lilies home. So her day lilies were transplanted in the yards of more than a dozen homes where we lived. Mama’s flowers enabled us to leave every yard more beautiful than we found it.
The hummingbirds are back again. We delight in watching them flit about taking nourishment from our three feeders. Hummingbirds are fun to watch. Though five feeding stations are available, two of these tiny birds will fight over one station. You have to chuckle because they are acting just like people! Such hostile behavior is not what Jesus meant when he said, “Look at the birds of the air.”
We maintain three bird feeders with seeds and enjoy bird-watching outside our windows. Occasionally smarms of blackbirds storm the feeders and quickly rob the little sparrows of meals prepared for them. For awhile I was irritated by the blackbirds cleaning out my feeders but the Lord reminded me that they have to eat too. I reckon His Eye is on the blackbirds as well as the sparrow.
Once, while living in Nashville, we fed two special birds whose names were Pete and Pauline. They had been given those names by the previous owners of the home. My wife and I quickly agreed when the old couple insisted that we feed Pete and Pauline, two doves that had nested outside a kitchen window. We enjoyed caring for Pete and Pauline while we lived there.
Spring in our area would not be spring without the splendor of the dogwood trees. Once again the dogwoods have been glorious though the recent rain dislodged most of the lovely white blooms. I never enjoy dogwoods or azaleas anywhere without remembering the beauty they added to Opelika springtimes. They are as beautiful there as anywhere in the world.
Flourishing just outside our front door is a flourishing Chinese fringe tree, a gift from our friends Betty and Judy Gingles. The tree’s scientific name is “Chionanthus retusus.” I have tried, in vain, to confirm this tree’s name as “Grancy Grey Beard.” My Mama called it that and my wife does also.
I have never heard anyone refer to this beautiful tree by the name “Chinese fringe tree,” though that apparently is its real name. Whatever its name, it is a gorgeous tree, especially in late spring when it produces snow white, fragrant flowers that cascade over the tree like a blanket.
Dean and I named it the “Gingles tree” to remind us of Betty and Judy. When its lovely blooms burst forth we give thanks for the fragrance of friendship as we enjoy the snowy flowers.
What a great blessing to be alive and able to see, smell and enjoy the extravagances of another magnificent springtime! Glory! + + +