Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August Garden and August Pleasures

 There are several things blooming in my August garden, but none give me quite the delight of my dahlias. This one is named 'Patches', along with some gently nodding cosmos.

The delights of summer eating. I have a bounty of fresh basil out my back door, so made up this August lunch of split muffins, aged Gouda cheese, fresh pesto (made from my basil, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil) topped with field ripened tomatoes. Ahh.....

 ...and who can forget summer reading? This is one cover photo of the book 'At the Back of the North Wind' by George MacDonald. MacDonald was a Scottish poet, author, minister and teacher, who lived from 1824-1905. He wrote stories he said, "not just for children, but for the child-like, whether they be of 5, 50 or 75 years." I have always enjoyed his work, but have not read this particular book since I was young. I am struck (by reading it with adult eyes) at his analogies and metaphors. This morning I read a great passage describing the Sovereignty of God. The North Wind is talking to the main character, a child named little Diamond. I will quote a portion here:

"I have got to sink a ship tonight."
"Sink a ship! What! With men in it?"
"Yes, and women too."
"How dreadful! I wish you wouldn't talk so."
"It is rather dreadful. But it is my work. I must do it. Little Diamond, I will keep you in front of me. You will feel the wind, but not too much. I shall only want one arm to take care of you. The other will be quite enough to sink the ship."
"Oh, dear North Wind! How can you talk so?"
"My dear boy, I never talk. I always mean what I say."
"Then  you do mean to sink the ship with the other hand?"
"It's not like you."
"How do you know that?"
"Quite easily. Here you are taking care of a poor little boy with one arm, and there you are sinking a ship with the other. It can't be like you."
"Ah, but which is me? I can't be two mes, you know."
"No. Nobody can be two mes."
"Well, which me is me?"
"Now I must think. There looks to be two."
"Yes. That's the very point. You can't be knowing the thing you don't know, can you?
"Which me do you know?"
"The kindest, goodest, best me in the world," answered Diamond, clinging to North Wind.
""Why am I good to you?"
"I don't know."
"Have you ever done anything for me?"
"Then I must be good to you because I choose to be good to you."
"Why should I choose?"
"Because--because--because you like."
"Why should I like to be good to you?"
"I don't know, except it be because it's good to be good to me."
"That's just it, I am good to you because I like to be good."
"Then why shouldn't you be good to other people as well as to me?"
"That's just what I don't know. Why shouldn't I?"
"I don't know either. Then why shouldn't you?"
"Because I am."
"There it is again," said Diamond. "I don't see that you are. It looks quite the other thing."
"Well, but listen to me, Diamond. You know the one me, you say, and that is good."
"Do you know the other me as well?"
"No. I can't. I shouldn't like to."
"There it is. You don't know the other me. You are sure of one of them?"
"And you are sure there can't be two mes?"
"Then the me you don't know must be the same as the me you do know--else there would be two mes?"
"Then the other me you don't know must be as kind as the me you do know?"
"Besides, I tell you that it is so, only it doesn't look like it. That I confess freely. Have you anything more to object?"
"No, no, dear North Wind. I am quite satisfied."

There you have it, Calvinism for children....or for simple minds like mine to absorb.

And finally, some August blooming roses. The old-fashioned, wonderfully sweet smelling roses. Hooray for August!

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