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Ashes Beauty

Finding Beauty Everywhere

I don’t know about you but when someone points something out you start to notice it more. In Godspace for this season they are talking about Finding Beauty in Ashes during the Lenten season and so when I went on my walk yesterday I was drawn to noticing beauty in ashes.

This tree was one of three conifer trees that were standing in a row until Storm Arwen passed by towards the end of 2021. All three went down. I presume that the furthest one fell and then pushed the other two over with the force of its falling and the wind behind it. How often does that happen – that something or someone starts to slide and takes others down with them who are close by? Also with trees their roots are intertwined so they can communicate with each other so all it needs is one lot of roots to come out and they will take others with them. Again another interesting comparison with our lives. Though also people or trees standing strong can help to keep each other up when storms come.

What fascinates me here is the little beetle hole in the centre of the tree. Now this would not have been visible when all the trees were standing and can only be fully seen because of where the chain saw has passed through. I’m not a naturalist so could not tell you what creature lived there and is now homeless but I can see something was there. And to me that is the beauty.

The beauty is the amazingness of this creature to burrow through the bark, find the right spot and make its home. But we can only get to see it because of the storm.

I wonder how often beauty is hidden or that we are too busy rushing on past to notice. I only noticed this because I was on a “writing walk” which means that I walk slower, notice things, jot them in my notebook, and like with this, photograph them. Generally I am rushing on past with collar turned up to get back home again.

I believe that too often we can only find beauty in ashes if we slow down and take them time to look at the ashes. And like with our hurts and things that have happened to us, we do only see the beauty in the pain, the hurt, the ashes, if we take time to look closely, to look properly. To have time and not to be rushing on to the next thing, to be not trying to hide from the “ashes” but to just see the beauty and be grateful.

Categories
change Storm

Storms!

Above are a selection of images of a local beach, local park and local roads on or before the storms passed through. Unfortunately I haven’t taken any of the storm damage in my park

I was lead in the bed this morning listening to the last of Storm Barra singing through the telephone wires. And it got me thinking about not just the recent storm but storms in general and our reaction to them.

We’ve been living here for nearly 6 years and Storm Arwen, ten days ago, was the most destructive storm we’ve witnessed. There have been a catalogue of trees we know of and areas that are well know where devastation has been wrecked. It even stopped filming at the I’m a Celebrity site over the road from us. It was fierce. As I walked the park with a friend who is born and bred her she was grieving the loss of trees that had been there since she was a child. She even remembered climbing in one of the three that had fallen. But I got to wondering how we see things as destruction when in fact they are there for change, for space for something new. Perhaps that is true with other things too; projects, ways of doing things, ways of church, of government and even of people.

There was much talk at some point during this pandemic of this being a time to change the way we did things, but from what I see the old has not been allowed to die even though it is swaying wildly in the wind. Those who feel safe with it, who have known it for so long, want to keep it there, are not ready to mourn its passing.

But then it is easy, almost, to be critical of wider things like church structure, governmental structures, capitalism, etc etc, but what about me? What in me and what I do am I keeping alive when I should let it die? I have a post which will be published on Godspace on 21st December which looks at the darkness and I think this might be the prequel or sequel, or just another part of, looking rethinking me.

Are we each willing to look at ourselves and see what we need to let fall to the ground, to let go of, even if for now it is beautiful, offers protection and shelter – as using the tree analogy? Or am I happier to sit back, talk about how “they” should change rather than look at me?