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Wednesday, February 18, 2009
A number of years ago when I was teaching a Sunday School class the kids and I made up a devotional exercise called "Summer Rainbows." During the week they would look for something in nature with each color of the spectrum. They wrote down each find, and thought of something to thank God for that related to each item. It's a little harder in the winter, but I've found a set this week, and I'll share it with you.
The red is British soldiers lichen, so named because of the color is like the "redcoat" uniforms of the Revolutionary War period, and the little stalks all stand up straight like soldiers. These were growing on what's left of a bench back by the railroad tracks. They just always make me smile, and I'm really grateful for things that bring smiles.
Orange is the color of weeping willow branches in the winter. Weeping willows are associated historically and in legend with both joy and sorrow. I just like the way they look- so graceful. Their beauty is certainly not easy to ignore. I'm thankful for the peace their symmetry and gentle swaying inspires.
The lichen growing on this aspen tree is bright shades of yellow. I find it amazing that organisms that function to break down and decay dead wood can be so bright and cheerful. Think about what would happen if dead plants and animals did not break down and return to the soil. Thank you God, for a natural system that works so well.
The green moss was hiding under the snow and brown grasses, and its bright mounds were right there, a secret spot of color. It's a reminder that there are hidden spots of beauty everywhere, including in people who may not look beautiful at first glance. Remind me of that when I need it, Lord.
It was tempting to just take a picture of the blue sky, but that seemed too easy. Here are red elder buds. They are surprisingly large, and look very blue in the natural light. This is not the edible elderberry, but a relative. They are so large that they practically scream "there is new life coming!" I am very thankful for all the promises of life. If we didn't remember spring and summer, the winters would seem pretty bleak... even to me, the winter lover.
For purple I chose the leaves of a Heuchera in my garden, peeking through the snow. This plant was a gift from a friend this past summer. I'm thankful for Cindy and her kindness to me.
Thus ends the first rainbow devotional exercise that I've shared with you. Perhaps there will be more in the future.