Azalea Time in Oklahoma

“ As spring adds its colors to the palest green of unfurling baby leaves, our hearts leap with joy and our souls feast.”

c e hollis

The gardens in Muskogee are a wonderful sight and we wait each spring and pray against late frost. The dogwood and magnolias, the cherry trees and crabapple bloom first. The tulips and daffodils are early too and worth the trip to see them. But we all wait with a hush of expectation for the azaleas to come. Their buds are colorful themselves. The sun each day it shines and the rain each time it falls gives us hope. Soon the “earlies” begin to open.

The whites are fresh as bed sheets whipped dry in the spring wind on the clothesline in a grandma’s sun-soaked side yard. Graceful stamens shoot from the five soft petals and bees hover over the blooms. Red and purple, pink and peach, orange, white, and orange (as well as every shade of each) flowers put on a spectacular show.

It is cheering and amazing to stroll along the pathways among the bushes and listen to the voices of happy flower-loving people, of children running and climbing, playing and laughing, the songs of birds and the quacking of ducks on the pond. Geese greet us as we walk near hoping for a stale bread handout. Water falls gurgle and fountains sing. The sun shines and wind sways the tree tops.

I think I hear another voice too as I go and it is a still small voice. Almost like a photograph it seems able to speak a thousand words. Words like “Here you are. I know you have been indoors and that your heart needs a lift. See all I have made?”

I hear painted words, ruffled words, lively, soothing, peaceful, comforting, inspirational words. “Look around you at the spring I promised. Here it is. Come walk with me. Read all the pictures I have painted just for you.”

So I read Your love notes, God. So I read and reread Your letter that spells out for me in green leaves and all the colors of the earth Your love and goodness toward us all. It is a letter not written with ink on the tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.

“You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

2 Corinthians 3:2-3

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