Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday: Gathering Storms

The thing about Good Friday:  A mere five days earlier Jesus and his disciples were the local "rock stars", with crowds rushing to see them and be part of the "scene".
The night before Good Friday Jesus and his disciples had a cozy relaxing traditional Passover meal...a loooonggg meal that included eight glasses of wine over the hours.
No wonder the disciples kept falling asleep in the garden instead of watching with as Jesus prayed.

The disciples just didn't see that a shocking storm of events was on their horizon.

From a long meal to a time in a garden to fleeing in terror, seeing the Cherished One beaten and bloody, manhandled by their own religious authorities.
The adrenaline flow, the shock, the did each of them manage during the next few days?
The crowds who shouted "Hosanna"...most of whom likewise were slumbering off the Passover meal, how did they manage the swift betrayal of by their leadership, on a Friday, when as Jews they were to be preparing for a Sabbath rest?

I treasure that Christ in the garden prayed that that the cup would pass from him...a Jewish cultural reference meaning that he had asked the Father of His Beloved for the right to marry His Daughter.
The Father had agreed...a cup was poured and the Father drank from it, signaling His agreement.
The potential Bridegroom likewise drank.
Then He passed the cup to the potential Bride.
The final step in sealing the matter was left up to her.
When the suitor passed the cup it was his greatest desire that she would take the cup and drank from it she would signal that she would agree to be his bride.

If she didn't let the cup be passed to her, if she didn't partake, then no marriage would occur.

No wonder Christ prayed until blood fell from His brow that the cup would pass from Him.
He was about to die so he could present  His Beloved the cup of His own blood.
Would she take the cup?
Or would she not let the cup be passed to her, ignoring it, and thereby nullifying His great sacrifice.

I do not believe for a minute that Jesus was asking God to let Him skip what was about to happen.
The nails, the sacrifice was from the beginning of the world.
He knew...He knew...and as the Best Lover, He was not concerned about what He was about to undergo for love, but was most concerned that His Beloved would unfathomably reject Him

The situation was not a sudden freak storm of events.  Had there been something like a Scriptural Weather Service back then, I suppose there would have been Sever Weather Warnings beeping from somewhere.

"Take cover...go to the lowest part of your house and pray until the all clear signal sounds." might have been the message.

Jesus did die...violent earthquakes shattered the land and tore the Temple curtain from the top down. 
(As a weaver who understands the weave of the temple curtain, this particular kind of fabric being torn at all is a miracle.)
Of course it was from the top down though...God's hand reaching down to make it so.

Jesus took a Sabbath rest I imagine, then got right to work descending into Hell and then ascending back up to Heaven.

Did the Bride take the cup that He hoped would pass from Him?
That question is one that still is awaiting an answer, an answer that comes one by one.
Each person that takes the Cup agrees to be His Bride.

The Wedding is still in the future the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.
In the meantime, the ones who have taken the Cup and are betrothed are reminded to keep watch, to pray for all to agree to the Cup, to pray for the safety and well being of All Who Love Him.

They are exhorted to gird themselves for battle, to be wise, to observe and be prepared for the storms that come in this world.

On Wednesday I read .THIS
Wednesday evening our Bible Study of the Book of Ephesian finished, and St. Paul restated his initial plea in the book, that Christian would pray for the Brethren.
The two writing joined in my mind.
It was time to get serious about praying for the persecuted Brides.

Since Christ's resurrection, Christians have been persecuted for their faith.
For me, the persecution has been more like a slight than any thing that could cause real pain.
Yet I look and see storm clouds gathering, and hear in my spirit a Spiritual Weather Warning system alerting me to dangerous weather forming.
How, when, it would come...I don't know.
Yesterday I watched storm clouds rolling in across our valley.  I grabbed my camera to photograph the weather changing around me, and then drove up higher into Neff's Canyon so I could see across the whole valley, and down to the city too.
It was powerful.
Then it chilled, and the winds began to blow hard around me.

I scrambled about with my tripod and camera trying to taking in all the views.

A drop or two fell on me, and I knew it was time to race to the safety of my car before the rain could damage my camera or lightening could possibly strike me.
My weather radio station had warned of quarter size hail about to fall.  I wanted to get home before my car might be damaged.

Just before I began to pick my way down the hillside, my eye fell upon this lone Avalanche Lily.
How had I missed seeing it before?

I took just a moment to admire it, and photograph it with its glowing symbolism.

"The Lily of the Valley" is the name of the Bridegroom in the Song of Solomon.

Jesus is the Lily of the Valley. The lily of the valley mentioned in Song of Solomon is probably the white amaryllis. This flower is only three inches from the ground and has a drooping head. Henry Gariepy mentioned that this drooping head is emblematic of the humility of Christ as well as His mission. The lowly flowers of the field are ready to be trodden underfoot of man and crushed. Christ humbled Himself and died an ignominious death in the hands of sinners for your salvation and mine.

Like the rose of Sharon, the lilies of the valley were especially sweet-scented. Their fragrance permeate the air with delightful scent for all to enjoy. The beautiful fragrance of the character of Jesus reflected in us is to be diffused to the world.

The following hymn describes beautifully the humility and mission of Christ:

Valley Lilies

Valley lilies, meek and lowly,

Let me hear your message sweet,

Tell of Christ the pure and holy,

Bending as to touch His feet,

Snowy lilies of the valley,

Speak again your message rare;

Testify to me of Jesus,

Heaven's Lily, wondrous fair!

Valley lilies, golden hearted,

Love's sweet mission you fulfill,

For you tell in perfumed language,

How he wrought his Father's will.

Valley lilies, cups inverted,

Still the Master you proclaim:

Empty of all pomp and glory,

To redeem the world He came.

--Flora Kirkland

A song:
The Lily of the Valley

I have found a friend in Jesus, He's everything to me,

He's the fairest of ten thousand to my soul;

The Lily of the Valley, in Him alone I see

All I need to cleanse and make me fully whole.

In sorrow He's my comfort, in trouble He's my stay,

He tells me every care on Him to roll;

He's the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star,

He's the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.

He all my griefs has taken, and all my sorrows borne;

In temptation He's my strong and mighty tower;

I have all for Him forsaken, and all my idols torn

From my heart, and now He keeps me by His power.

Though all the world forsake me, and Satan tempt me sore,

Through Jesus I shall safely reach the goal;

He's the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star,

He's the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.

He will never, never leave me, nor yet forsake me here,

While I live by faith and do His blessed will;

A wall of fire about me, I've nothing now to fear,

With His manna He my hungry soul shall fill.

Then sweeping up to glory to see His blessed face,

Where rivers of delight shall ever roll;

He's the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star,

He's the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.

So what happened next?
The winds whistled about me, and I got home safely.  I quickly moved a few potted deck plants under cover and went inside where it seemed unnaturally dark for one in the afternoon.

Just a bit of rain fell, and a few soggy bits of hail.

All was well for me and mine.

On the five o'clock news we saw the destruction that the storm had brought to others in our area.  Century old trees were riped up, and some were broken mid trunk.  What powerful winds they must have been!  A car dealership had windows shattered, a few people had cuts from broken glass, and a few homes were damaged by falling trees, thankfully with no one inside them at the time.

Yes, the storm was destructive.  The warnings were true, and even if I only experienced the slightest effects and only saw the lightening and thunder, nevertheless others were experiencing much more.

Then...this morning....I opened the newspaper and saw THIS article.

It begins:

SLC church distributes free copies of Quran

By Kristen Moulton

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Apr 21 2011 06:24PM

Updated 3 hours ago Updated Apr 22, 2011 09:48AM

Leaders of a Presbyterian congregation in Salt Lake City have an answer to the Florida pastor with a penchant for burning the Quran.

Wasatch Presbyterian Church is giving Islam’s holy book away for free.

“Sometimes, it’s hard to know how to push back against the lunatic fringe,” said Russell Fericks, a member of the session, or governing board, of the 350-member church on the city’s east side.

So when the new pastor, the Rev. Scott Dalgarno, asked the board last week to join him in opening their wallets, the reaction was swift.

The leaders put up $600 before the meeting was over and ordered dozens of copies of an Oxford Press edition of the Quran several days ago. The books will be available as early as Monday at King’s English Bookshop, each with a bookmark bearing these words: “This book was donated by the leaders of Wasatch Presbyterian Church, who are not afraid of truth wherever it can be found.”

The idea, Fericks said, “was simple. It was creative. It was courageous in the sense of saying, ‘We’re not afraid of the truth.’

“You don’t have to let the nincompoops of the world control all the message,” he said.

Perhaps the Spiritual storms are closer to home that I had imagined.
I live at the foot of the Wasatch mountains, and this church is just blocks from my home.

This Easter Sunday, I pray for the believers who will face terror for gathering to rejoice in their Risen Savior.

I pray they would be able to forgive the Wasatch Presbyterian Church for spending funds to distribute anything but the Message of the Gospel.

I never imagined the gathering storms of darkness had blinded a church so near me.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Inside flowers are nice too...

The same week end as my Red Butte garden and Temple Square picture taking fest:  Salt Lake Orchid Show!
Held inside the Red Butte Orangerie, it was a nice slightly warm and humid switch from my usual outside flower shooting experiences.

The plants were packed in together on tables and to get up close to photograph a bloom required some up on tip toe work, stretching and breath holding.
At one point my blouse brushed a bloom and I was quickly reminded to be very, very careful!

Next time I will wear a tight fitting tank top to the show.
It certainly would be easier; a regular long sleeved shirt was way too warm in there.

Each part of each orchid was fascinating, and then the entire flower was fascinating too.

Yesterday I read an article written in 2002 about laws written against wearing Muslim head scarves and dress.
The author was a traditional Mennonite; in the article was was expressing her empathy for the Muslim women as she had for years worn "cape" dresses and a cap.  She included photos of herself in high school, the only girl so attired back in the 1950s.  She continued to wear her traditional religion mandated outfit until just recently.  No one ever took offense and the garb had not disqualified her from holding offices throughout her academic and professional careers.

The article had been posted on Facebook by a friend of a friend, with no comment.

For some reason I mulled the article all day.

(I especially like this hairy trimmed flower, and took lots of photos of it.)

The thing about wearing religious or organizational mandated clothing styles is that such practices serve to both cause the wear to be identified with their group and to mentally more closely identify themselves with their own "people".

I have not problem with that.  In fact I kind of think it is a good idea. As I thought about posting these orchid pictures I thought how interesting it was that those who study orchid are able to instantly know each kind of orchid by its looks.  The shape of the flower, the color patterns, the size, leaf structure etc etc instantly informs the viewer that not only is this an orchid (as opposed to a rose or a dandelion) but also exactly which kind of orchid is being viewed.

Not being being around orchids much, I tend to just group them casually as the orchids with the cup like bottom thing-ee, and the hairy ones or the one with the big middle that smells really good.

My mind kept dinking around with the empathetic writing of the Mennonite woman, trying to figure out what was niggling me about her take on Muslim women and the ban on their garb.

(The above shot: Not an orchid.  It is one bud of what is called a Bear's Breeches.  It is a pretty common garden plant in So Cal at least, and was part of the permanent flower collection inside the Red Butte Orangerie.  It looks really different up close in bud than it does in full bloom at a distance.)

This, however, is another orchid variety.

Eventually the mulling revealed what was niggling me about the article.

Mennonite outfits, Nun's outfits, Friars brown robes, Hara Krishna orange wraps, Girl Scouts green dresses, Marine uniforms, Hockey uniforms:  All of the people who chose to wear such clothing consider a personal choice.
They choose it for themselves.
They do not mandate it for others.

It doesn't take much reading to grasp the truth about Muslim women's wear:  Islam proscribes that ALL women be so attired in order for the world to be "righteous".
Women who choose to wear the garb can still be beaten or even killed if, as in one case, their sleeve slips back while they write on a chalkboard, and a wrist is revealed.
(Check any Islamic wear will see for sale the tight knitted sleeves that are worn beneath their other sleeves to prevent inadvertent immodesty.)

When I see a Muslim woman wearing a scarf around her hair and jeans and a tee shirt I mentally note that at any time her religious leaders could haul her off the street and beat her, and even kill her.
It happens.

I wonder if she fully understands what she is doing by giving minimal adherence to Islamic law.
How does she feel about the women who are born into Sharia compliant countries who have no choice but to cover all but their hands and a mesh covered opening for their eyes?

Another article popped up on my Face book page, sent by my friend Ellen.
Written by a Jewish man, he had observations about where we as Christian were in terms of caring about the Christians around the globe who are being killed by Muslims.
He pointed out that the current #1 baby name in the UK is Mohammad, and that there is already multiple Sharia courts in that country.

He didn't say it: Before too long there will be more Sharia courts than non-Sharia courts.
When that happens, it will quickly be a situation where there is only Sharia courts.

He suggests that Christians hold rallies to protest the treatment of Christians in Islamic countries.  He also feels that the Jews should attend such rallies, as Christians attended and fought for Jews who were being ill treated in the Soviet Union.
And he suggested that Muslims should likewise attend and state their concern for the well being of Christians.

In the Mennonite woman's writing, there was concern about the right for Muslim women to dress according to their religious preference.

I suppose someone should be concerned about Muslim women having the right to dress in their own fashion.

I just think it is more imperative that Muslim women express their concern that Christians be allowed to live, and worship freely without fear because of the Muslim population.

The right to wear a scarf and a tent like dress verses the right for people to attend church with their children without fearing the loss of their live.

(I am totally smitten by the hidden red dots inside the pouch on this orchid!)

Bottom line:  Anyone can wear what ever they want in public as long as their reproductive organs and anus are covered, in my way of thinking.

As long as the garment meets that criteria, I am fine.
On the other hand...if your garment suggests that I or others may be harmed if not dressed like you, I am totally against what you are wearing.

Simple isn't it?

Tonight we celebrate Maundy Thursday.  I think about how triumphant the disciples must have been feeling as they gathered about to eat the Passover.
They were observant Jews; they wore tassels to constantly remind them of God and their heritage as His Chosen People.
No one feared that the Jews would force any one else to wear the tassels.
No one today should fear a Jew either, for any reason.

And yet...
Over and over I read how the Muslims demand that the Jews must be driven into the sea.
The Saturday people first, then the Sunday people...
(I being a Sunday person, I find this to be a very disturbing thought.)

(Looks like a folk dress doesn't it?)

I don't know why God made so many varieties of flowers.

They grow in specific ecological niches, and encroach on each other usually only when man has interfered.

I think even in Christendom there are niches for varying ways of living out life as a believer.
We vary, and yet pull towards the same goal in the end.

Salvation, and God's Kingdom come.
His will be done.

(I realize this is a bit of a ramble, but sharing it on the blog helps me process my thoughts together via writing.  The two articles I mentioned are copied below.   I hope you enjoyed the flowers...and if you wanted to pass on the "reaction" part of my world, that is fine too.)

Plain Clothes Revisited:

Empathy for Muslim Women

Laura H. Weaver

From:  Mennonite Life, June 2002 (pictures did not copy)

On September 17, 2001, while driving home, I heard an NPR interview with Suha Samhouri, "a typical New York woman in her mid-20s, except for the Hijab that covers her head." The previous week, reporter Rick Karr explained, when she drove to a shopping center, "she failed to recognize two women she'd known for years . . . because they weren't wearing Hijab." Samhouri herself reported, in the interview, "As I was walking towards my car, I just saw the tears roll down my eyes and I couldn't believe it. I was really shocked. . . . Just very unbelievable, someone, you know, having to change their beliefs, their ideas because of one or a group of really terrible people." And as I was driving, I, too, began crying. A week later I read, in a Newsweek article, "In Washington D.C., Muslim women have had hijab scarves snatched from their heads." (1) During September I heard other NPR interviews with young Muslim women in the U.S., for example, Amina Chaudary, a graduate student in public policy at George Washington University. Chaudary, who began wearing the scarf during high school and wore it when she was the captain of the varsity basketball team, said that it has now become "a target-verbal, physical, whatever-stares."

I became angry when I heard of such mistreatment and equally angry during local discussions treating a Muslim woman as an Other. Here in Evansville, Indiana, I attended a book discussion of Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women, (2) written by Geraldine Brooks, a Westerner--a foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in the Middle East. Throughout most of this book, Brooks describes Western women's dress in positive images and Muslim women's dress (head and body coverings) in negative ones. For example, Brooks complains about a young Muslim woman's getting rid of her Western dress: Sahar "wrapped away" her curls "in a severe blue scarf" and replaced her "shapely dress" with "a dowdy sack. . .[;] she had crumpled her bright wings and folded herself into a dull cocoon" (p. 7). Elsewhere Brooks describes Muslim women's dress as "shapeless" (pp. 22, 63), "figure hiding" (p. 23), and "concealing" (p. 92). These outfits are compared pejoratively to the clothing of nuns, whom the author considers "fossil[s]" (pp. 10, 92), and to death and hell: the chador worn by the author to gain credibility at a press conference is a "black shroud" (p. 289), and the "360-degree black cloaks" worn by Saudi women "made them look, as Guy de Maupassant once wrote, 'like death out for a walk'" (p. 21). On one occasion the author, seeing "the black-cloaked figures" of women, feels as if she had been "locked up by mistake in some kind of convent from hell" (p. 19). In our group discussion of this book, other women, sharing Brooks's bias, asked, "How could they wear those clothes?" Outraged by their question, I wanted to leave the room.

Instinctively I placed myself in the position of Muslim women wearing distinctive clothing, especially as minority people in the U.S., not only when I listened to the radio or participated in a book discussion but also when I saw them in person. When, with other friends, I went to an open house at the local mosque and when I saw the local imam's wife at a civil rights luncheon, I identified more with the Muslim women, whether their heads were fully or partially covered by scarves, than with the other women accompanying me. Recently I recalled another moment perhaps ten years ago when, in a restroom on the University of Evansville campus, I was standing at the washbowl besideaced myself in the position of Muslim women wearing distinctive clothing, especially as minority people in the U.S., not only when I listened to the radio or participated in a book discussion but also when I saw them in person. When, with other friends, I went to an open house at the local mosque and when I saw the local imam's wife at a civil rights luncheon, I identified more with the Muslim women, whether their heads were fully or partially covered by scarves, than with the other women accompanying me. Recently I recalled another moment perhaps ten years ago when, in a restroom on the University of Evansville campus, I was standing at the washbowl beside a Muslim woman wearing the hijab. I felt that I was in her place. In this identification, my intellectual recognition of the apparent oppression signified by prescribed coverings for women's heads and bodies was subordinated to my experiential connection with Muslim women.

Photo 1

Because of the increased attention given to Muslim women's clothing after September 11, I began to revisit my experience with the Mennonite cap (head covering) and plain clothing, worn until I was 31 years old. During the past 19 years my earlier changes in cap/hair/clothing have often constituted the subject matter of my personal-experience essays designed to demonstrate my gradual acculturation. In those essays I never set out to ridicule my cap and plain clothes; I just attempted to show the changes. Photograph #1 illustrates that phase of my writing: my treating the cap and the plain clothes as an artifact, something to be discussed. In that photograph, I am a spectator of my life, as shown by my holding the cap in my hands and by the family photographs in the background--one showing me in my plain clothes and the other, in my non-plain clothes. Now, however, I've begun to see my plain-clothes experiences in a new way.

Instead of concentrating on my acculturation, I'm now interested in looking closely at my "plain" period, especially at the ways in which, despite my different appearance, I was a normal person participating in activities in the dominant society. I sense that my objection to others' seeing Muslim head scarves and other clothing only as an instrument of oppression--as something to ridicule or seek to eradicate--derives from my plain-clothes past. Seeing the scarves and dresses, I recalled my own experiences not as an "other" but as a normal person.

Reminiscing prompted me to locate photographs taken when I was a plain-clothes student at Manor-Millersville High School (now Penn Manor) in Millersville, Pennsylvania, and a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. In appearance I had nothing in common with the other students in either place. However, I participated in life at both places; underneath the different hairstyle, the cap, and the plain dress, I was a human being who, in a public high school, shared with others in academic work and extracurricular activities and, in graduate school, again performed the usual academic work and socialized with other students. (3)

Photo 2

Throughout high school I not only went to classes but also engaged in extracurricular activities. And always I wore the cap, even when singing in Glee Club performances within and outside the school and while wearing a gym suit for physical education class. Never did anyone order me or even try to persuade me to take off the cap or to stop wearing the cape dress. Two photos illustrate my differences from other people but also my participation. Photo #2 shows that the high school girls, except for a few other plain-clothes Mennonites, had cut hair and curls, wore skirts and blouses (some with decorative bows), and white socks. However, I wore my hair pulled back in a bun, wore a cap with strings, a cape dress with no decoration, and black shoes and stockings. Clearly, I was different. However, that physical difference did not prohibit me from actively joining in high school life and even in gaining recognition as the editor of the school newspaper, Manor Hi-Lights. As the editor, I was seated in the center of the photo, with 26 other staff members around me.

Photo 3

In the National Honor Society photo (#3) I again looked different. Other girls had cut hair and curls, wore skirts, blouses, scarves. I had long hair in a bun, wore a cap with strings, and wore a cape dress. But I participated sufficiently in high school life to be inducted into the National Honor Society, which emphasized scholarship, leadership, character, and service.

Photo 4

Photo 5

The next two photographs (#4 and #5) were taken on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia during my work on a master's degree. Although, of course, my life there, just as in the public high school, involved academic performance, these particular photographs illustrate that, despite my different appearance, I socialized with other graduate students in English. Again, I am distinguished from other female students by my hair worn in a bun and by my white cap. By this time in my life, the cap was smaller, more hair showed at the neck, and there was less difference between my dress and those worn by other young women. However, I was still different--in fact, the only University of Pennsylvania woman wearing a cap. But just as clearly, I became friends with other graduate students, both women and men. We often studied in the same section of the library, and we socialized outside of classes. Together we went to parties. Although I drank soft drinks when others drank alcohol, I was there--invited with other students.

By the time I taught at Bluffton College and then completed a Ph.D. at the University of Kansas, I no longer wore a cap and cape dress. However, during the previous 31 years of my life (except for periods as a student and a teacher at Eastern Mennonite College and a teacher at Belleville Mennonite High School [Pennsylvania]) I was accustomed to looking different from the people around me: in public grade school; public high school; the workplace (an advertising agency and a law office) during two years between high school and college and in Christmas and summer vacations; and graduate school during my master's degree studies. That difference, revealed in those five photos, became so internalized that, regardless of my agreement or disagreement with the reason for different clothing, I still identify with the persons wearing it. When something negative is said about them, especially women wearing religiously-prescribed clothing, I cringe--as if it were said about me. (4)

My witnessing the discrimination against Muslim women's head coverings and other clothing has profoundly affected me, without, however, leading me to romanticize either conservative Mennonite or Muslim women's experiences. Focusing less on my acculturation, now I am revisiting my experience with plain clothes, recapturing my engagement as a minority person in the dominant society. I remember that plain Laura was a normal human being who shared in academic life and socialized with others. The other effect is that I see Muslim women not as targets for our scorn or our attempted re-training but as participating human beings. My shared experience of having worn a distinctive head covering and dress has generated cross-cultural empathy. Other proof of an emerging appreciation for Muslim women's clothing appears at the end of Nine Parts of Desire, where even Brooks, after having consistently denigrated Muslim women's clothing, describes her changed response to the chador she wore to do her job:

When I look at that chador I no longer get the little shudder of fear or the gust of outrage that I used to feel when I saw the most extreme forms of Islamic dress. These days my feelings are much more complex. Chadors are linked in my mind to women I've felt close to, in spite of the abyss of belief that divided us. (5)

Facing fewer obstacles than did Brooks, I developed cross-cultural empathy much more easily. Not only "women I've felt close to" but also I myself have worn religiously-prescribed clothing. Living as plain Laura for 31 years prepared me to enter into the experiences of the Other--especially Muslim women in the U. S.


1. Lynette Clemetson and Keith Naughton, "Patriotism vs. Ethnic Pride: An American Dilemma," Newsweek, 24 Sept 2001, p. 69.

2. Geraldine Brooks, Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women (New York: Random House, 1995).

3. Admittedly, I had more freedom than do Muslim women in some countries. In this essay I am describing the similarity between my experience as a conservative Mennonite minority woman and that of a Muslim minority woman in the U. S.

4. Despite my decision not to wear plain clothing and despite my disagreement with doctrinal justifications for this practice, I would probably react similarly to harsh criticism of a plain-clothes Mennonite woman who is a minority in a given situation. Although I do not identify with groups of such Mennonite women, I identify with a single minority figure.

5. Brooks, 234.

The second article is available to read HERE.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Flower Power!

Sing with me, to the tune of "Going to the Chapel, and we're gonna get married..."

Only switch it to "Going to the Temple and I'm gonna get dirty..."

It is bleak and rainy here today.  Thankfully I prepared ahead of time for just such a day: I saved a cheery group of flowers pictures to post later when my climatic world needed a boost. 

After all the fun I had a Red Butte Garden on April 1st, I had to check out Temple Square's garden on the next day.
The garden was getting there...flower wise. I happen to know the end of April is prime Temple Square Garden viewing time.
But as it was, I still I was down on the ground taking pictures of what was in bloom, clicking pictures of the flowers and breathing in their amazing fragrance.

Pink, white, blue, purple..all the possible colors were blooming nicely.

Even the buds looked beautiful in the (very) warm sunshine.

A couple of daffodils were up and open.

But really, it was all about the hyacinths at first.

I hadn't realized before that their pollen matched their petal colors!

The white and yellow combo daffodils were reigning in the daffodil blossom selection.

Twirly daffodils...
I do love their ruffles.

Temple Square has lots of really pretty fountains; I wanted to try the camera setting where the flowing water would look like a white blur, but just didn't remember how to do that.
I settled for crisp instead.

The flowering trees were just budding.  I had to stand on a raised wall and wait for the breeze to settle to get this shot.
The bud was smaller than the tip of my baby finger and I kept wanting to lean in closer to the bud...and also realized that I could easily take a tumble if I wasn't mindful of where I was.
It would be nice to have someone to hold on to the back of my shirt in these situations.

I think that was one of my most favorite shots that day. 

Some heather was in bloom; I have a friend who yearns to see Scotland with heather upon the hillsides, and a few other friends who have gotten to see that Celtic pink equivalent to Texas bluebonnet.

Each tiny blossom is about the size of an apple seed by the way.

The color gradation on the Hyacinth blew me away.
I took a lot of shots trying to capture that turquoise to lavender gradual shade shift.

It is always nice when a flower is growing in a raised bed like this daffodil; I don't need to get flat on the ground to get an upshot like this shot.

But I still needed to get "down and dirty" for this tulip.
Totally worth it!
The clothes I was wearing were all washable!

These little flowers were smaller than a penny and I used to call them English daisies.  They frequently are found growing in lawns but the Temple Square gardeners included them in the planting design of the tulip and daffodil beds.

Getting pansies back lit is starting to fascinate me...

Check me out!
Yes, that really is ME in this picture, standing in front of the fountain.

Here's another shot of me...

Goofy fun being able to take a picture of one's self taking a picture.

(A special thank you goes out to whomever keeps the Temple Square windows so immaculately clean that they make such pictures possible.)

Don't you think tulip petals are sensual?
I mean more so than rose petals or daffodils and such?
There is just something so silky and skin like with tulips.

Even the way the stem joins with the petals is smooth and elegant.

Heart's Ease...Jump up and Kiss me....Johnny Jump up.
Just the tiniest bit of garden cuteness.

Sniping a shot...
Love that peachy pink!

The stripes up close...the pale margins of the petals....

Then these tiny blue stars, some solid blue and others had white centers that changed to blue further along on the petals.

The brown tissue paper daffodil hoods, now cast off but still adding interest to the buds.

I went ga-ga over this tulips, for both the glowing colors and the twisty stamen inside.
If I could shrink down to a quarter inch size, I would be wandering around in this tulip for hours.

(I actually did visually wander around in the tulip visually through my camera for a pretty long time.  I even misted it with a bit of water, and a woman quickly galloped up to me to ask what I had just sprayed on the flower.  I guess I am glad there are people who keep an eye out for possible flower terrorists...God bless the watchful citizen!)

Occasionally I am in the right place at the right time, like this time where the sun was in the perfect place to back light the fountain when it went off, and also made silhouettes of the Temple and Office Building.

I do happen to know what Temple Square garden will be like in a couple of weeks:  Tulips every where, rare and unusual tulips and fascinating color combinations. Last year I think I took 300 pictures of the tulips in one visit...these lovely tulips are merely the first wave in the tulip extravaganza.

Solid reds...

or a swirl of colors...

Each tulip lights up joy in my soul.

Tree's bark glows...

These sweet charmers filled out the flower beds in drifts.

Each penny sized flower was so cheerful!

Some were deep blue, others baby blue, some had white centers and others not.
I suppose each color variation is a distinct variety....and would be fun to collect such bulbs for my own garden.

I was shooting a lot with my little macro lens to get soft effects, then switching to my camera macro setting to get crisper pictures.
Soft focus daffodils are so dreamy....

Tulip pollen in abundance!  I know tulip breeders play use tiny brushes to gather and transfer pollen in hopes of creating a new tulip variety.  What patience they must have to wait to see what flowers in the following years.

I shot a lot of these flowers around a LDS gentleman who was seated and chatting with several young "elders" about what they had been up to.  They didn't seem to mind me, and I enjoyed eavesdropping on their talk.   All of us were could we not in such a beautiful environment?

The tulips...oh my goodness!  Each was a work of art!

The twisty stamens!

Single blood like drops on each petal.
A folk tale inspiration flower if I ever saw one.

My second favorite shot of the day.

Don't you love all the colors in this puffy flower?
I'll surely go back to Temple Square on another day when it is sunny and even more flowers are in bloom.
Meanwhile the rain continues.
It was nice to escape from it for a while via electronic time travel back to a more suitable flower viewing day.