The word that keeps floating into my head today is ‘contrasts.’ In part, it is driven by the US Election results and the differences between Biden and Trump, even though they are similar in terms of being older, white males.
It is also to the fore because November is a month of curious contrasts and ones which I seem to notice more and be more appreciative of because of what can sometimes seem like the greyness of the month.
This morning, it is dull and dank here with cloud almost touching our heads but as I was coming in our gate a glint of bright orange caught my eye from the Berberis bush and the Mahonia out the back has turned her gleaming yellow lights on as if putting on a bedside light in the depths of night.
The contrast that has perhaps struck me most relates to mindsets. Joe Biden’s litany of personal tragedies would be enough to defeat a huge number of people. His courage in the face of such hard knocks is nothing short of inspirational. I have no idea how he will fare as President but I think he has shown that there are alternatives to giving up in the face of adversity.
We do not live an equal life, but one of contrasts and patchwork; now a little joy, then a sorrow, now a sin, then a generous or brave action.
Dark December mornings before sunrise can be full of foreboding and this morning felt rather overwhelming.
However, all changed when at very first light I saw what seemed like a fairy light blowing in the wind outside in the garden.
It was this season’s first full bloom on the Camellia that I planted with my father a few weeks after getting married in September 1991. Father was a great believer in the power of perennials and the importance of planting to ensure that there would be colour, especially in Winter. One of his favourite sayings was this one from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
The earth laughs in flowers
Even though the Camellia has never failed to bloom, she always shocks me with her dazzling arrival and has me gazing out the kitchen window in pure amazement. Here is the much needed colour and the promise of lots more to come with a host of buds.
It makes me think of the way in which we all need colour and hope in our lives. Has there ever been a person who hasn’t felt moments when it seemed like the darkest storm would never pass?
We never really know who is in the midst of their own personal storms nor how a friendly smile or a pause for a little chat can be the flash of colour that re-opens the door to that precious place called Hope.