the straggler

by bam

it doesn’t know, apparently, what the little box on the calendar says, what it insists. doesn’t know the frost is due any day now. it sticks its bold blue neck out. damn the proscriptions, it shouts. in its wee little glory of morning soprano.
it’ll bloom when it darn well pleases. and apparently it pleases now.
pleases me, too.
startled me, caught my eye, made me stop, turn, go back and kneel there. i knelt at the feet of that blue burst of i’ll-do-it-my-way. a something worth kneeling for, if ever there was one.
i’d been loping, as i often do, from one spot in the alley, down to another. taking a shortcut. scooting along.
the alley, as all alleys are, especially at end of october, was mostly all gray, with long stretches of shriveled-up leftover green. or brown. the mint gone to rangy. wild asters seeded, collapsed in exhaustion. the golden rod splayed, as if it too merely gave up the ghost, laid down and gasped its last breath, there on the cracks of the asphalt.
garbage cans, even, were tossed willy-nilly. it’s been windy of late, and the cans leap into the melee, join the percussive parade, rolling and banging, scattering this way and that.
and then, that one recalcitrant bloom. as blue and as bright as a midsummer’s fine afternoon. one where the sky and the lake seem not to know there’s a difference. the blue just bleeds from below to above. not a cloud mars the tableau. it’s blue, as far and as deep as can be.
that ol’ morning glory minds its own clock. it bloomed when it was darn well ready. and not a minute before.
all the rest of the morning glories are long shriveled, and dropped from the vine. they’d had their moments of glory, way back in august, maybe early september. but not this one. she waited till nearly november. and she paid no mind to the morning that is, after all, her first name. heck, that sun was near as high as it gets at the end of october, it was just after 2, maybe 3, on a day that demanded a sweater.
but there she was. in all her glorious glory. how could i not turn on my heels, do a 180, slow down and take in all that she offered?
she offered much, that five-petaled promise of heart-skipping joy amid autumn’s not-so-showy attempt to pack up the goods, put it away for the winter. there is little poetic, i tell you, in shriveled-up weeds.
but there is a whole sonnet, maybe two, in the lone blue bloom, the straggler who reached out to me.
sometimes–almost always, truth be told–i am convinced that these out-of-the-blue whispers and sightings and knocks on the head are love notes from way beyond clouds. i call them Divine, with that rare capital D.
the way my curly head pictures it all, it’s God who’s loping the alley in front of me, looking here and there for places to drop just a sweet little morsel, a reminder, that grace and beauty are right there around the corner, if only we allow them, the cousins divine, to seep into our peripheral vision.
that’s what i felt the afternoon that glory of morning just leapt out and grabbed me. it was a whisper, or maybe a shout, a sign from above or beyond or within–wherever you place the great gentle goodness that i happen to call by the simple name God–pulling me wholly out of my lope down the alley, telling me simply, there is good.
i needed to hear it. we all do. there is, far as i know, not a one of us, anywhere, who needn’t regular infusions, reminders, that we are not alone out here, adrift, dangling from strings without anyone minding the cords.
it’s almost a game that i play. looking for God in unlikely places. there on the bloom on a vine. or there in the branch in the tree where the cardinal is calling.
i’ve spent whole spans of my life connecting those dots. there’ve been rich spells and dry spells. spells where i knew not a thing. but then, on a whisper of wind, a moonbeam, a shaft of bright sunlight, i’d feel that tap on my shoulder.
i’d turn and behold what could only be something bigger than me, but delivered in quietest, softest of telegram.
i learned of this naturally, growing up as i did at the hand of a mama who, as i’ve mentioned before and again, keeps one eye on the limbs of the trees, the other scanning for God. she connects dots, every time. in a hawk that circles her head. in a bluebird she finds in the woods. in a tissue-thin lily that pokes from the ground in a place where she didn’t plant it.
so do i.
i am, after all of these years, a disciple in her brand of religion; a beautiful thing, the finding of God in the leaves underfoot, the wings overhead.
and that’s why the bloom in the alley, that’s why it took all my breath. it reminded me that out of the blue, when you’ve felt all alone for day upon unending day, when all has been gray, has been dimmed by the shadows, there is the brush stroke of God, handing you, if you stop and you listen and look, the undeniable knowing that you are, not for a minute, left to dangle on strings.
there is, very much, someone to keep you from falling, from getting too tangled. i think that someone is God.
and the morning glory reminded me.

do you look for or find God in blooms in the alley, bird calls at the dawn? what might you have stumbled upon lately? do you have a someone who taught you their brand of religion, a way of taking the big sweeping picture and stitching it into your every day?
be sure to check
the lazy susan. it spins anew for this, the season of pumpkin. there is a roasted stuffed pumpkin, a jolly fine orb to bring to the table, you might want to give it a try. i know, at my house, it’s not autumn without it.