Monday, March 27, 2023

Blessed by a Little Grey Frog

    The newly green trees are crowded these March days with a vatican-load of cardinals - not the red-hatted ones but the red-feathered variety.

 It was Sunday - we were planting basil and tomatoes. The blue dome of the sky arched over me, the sun was warm on my back, while the cardinals serenaded me from the bamboo. They sang their lungs out, full of the joys of Spring. As I eased a basil plant from its nursery pot, a little grey frog jumped to the ground. 

"Well, hello there," I said. 

There was dirt on his back, dirt on his head, dirt between his legs and his torso - he must have been hunkered down and cozy in that litte pot before this lummox of a human so rudely dislodged him. He wasn't holding grudges though. He didn't object when I nudged him onto my wrist, wiggling his hind quarters and sending crumbs of soil flying. He settled down, in no hurry to move away. He wasn't a military fellow - too tiny for one thing - but he was wearing grey camo (under the bits of soil) But then, my new friend and his ilk were probably wearing camo when we were still living in caves.

I don't often go to church these days, which sometimes causes me an uneasy twinge of guilt - the nuns are still very much alive in my head. Looking at this little, trusting creature though, it occurred to me, that God is found, not only in cathedrals, but in gardens, in birdsong, in seashells and flowers and in the littlest creatures with whom we share our spaces. Here was this little fellow, doing and living exactly as his maker intended for him to do and to live, unconcerned with all the problems us humans invent for ourselves. I was glad I had used my hands, and not the trowel, to dig the basil out. He did finally jump from my wrist and settled in close to a nearby clay pot.

 "Stay awhile," I told him, and went back to planting. 

The OC wandered by and I introduced him to my new friend, explaining that we'd been having a chat. He smiled. He knows that when you get helpers in the garden it's wise to humor them no matter how daft they may be, but then he smiled again (this time not his " humouring the crazy lady" smile.) 


He pointed behind me to where two elegant cranes were stepping daintily through the trees. "Ladies" is how I think of them when they're earthbound. They sound more like drunken sailors on a bender when they're airborne, raucously honking across the sky. I was relieved to see Froggy had taken to his heels - just as well not to become a tasty morsel for the "Ladies".

My sister goes running in Cratloe Woods. It's a peaceful, piney place on a hillside out in the country,  a few miles from where we grew up. I've been there with her. In fact the OC and I got married in the tiny church there, so I completely understand why she calls those woods her cathedral.

I am too far removed from Cratloe now so I content myself sitting in pews of grass and mud along with frogs, lizards and sand hill cranes. Sometimes a tortoise wanders in and delivers a soundless sermon. And all the while the cardinal choir sings boisterous psalms in the bamboo soaring over our heads.


Elephant's Child said...

Cranes, frogs, and an occasional tortoise and cardinals sound close to heaven to me.

gz said...

Gardening as it should be.

Relatively Retiring said...

Exactly as gz and EC have said.
A perfect day for everyone, all together in peace.
Thank you for such a lovely, calming post.

Colette said...

Beautiful post.

molly said...

EC - Indeed.

gz - a favourite quote - "You're closer to God in a garden than anyplace else on earth."

RR - gardening certainly is a way to calm your mind!

c - Thanks....

Pam said...

Lovely! But don't you miss those Irish woods?

molly said...

Pam - Of course I do! But there are beautiful woods here too. Not so much in Florida but in Oregon, California, New York state and many more. I might not enjoy Cratloe as much at this age as I did when younger as I'm sure I'd be freezing most of the time!

ganching said...

A lovely piece of writing.

Colette said...

I think you're on to something there!

molly said...

Ganching - High praise coming from you - thank you.

Colette - could be, but that old, Catholic guilt never goes away completely.

Explosino Erfahrungen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dee said...

Dear Molly, this posting is so finely crafted--from the introduction of the Vatican cardinals in the first paragraph to the last sentence with its "soundless sermon" and the bamboo cathedral arching over the Vatican cardinals singing their psalms.

I am in awe of such fine writing. It's lyrical, creating within me, the reader, through cadence and word, a music that pours through the pores of my body, starved as it always is for the gift of meaning.

Your writing simply sings!

Thank you for this posting. It is such an exceptional piece of writing. In the paragraph below your blog title, you tell us that you've loved writing from an early age. I wonder if you've been published and if so, would you let me know the titles of your books and also the name under which you write/wrote.

I so appreciate your creativity and the mind from which it springs. And I so hope and wish you are writing right now about whatever you wish--gardening, the wisdom of animals, the foibles of humans. Whatever--fiction or nonfiction--I'd read whatever you wrote/write.

Peace from Dee and the three cats who let me live with them.

molly said...

Dee - Thank you for your kind words though they seem extravagant. I have written several stories over the years, mostly about childhood and growing up in Ireland but nothing published. Sometimes I think I have nothing to say of interest to anyone, but then someone like you gives me hope that maybe I do after all, even if it's only about frogs and cranes and cardinals, so thank you!

Wisewebwoman said...

A poetic post Molly, loved every line of it.
I had my own cathedral on an island off the West Cork coast. And know exactly what you mean.
Gaia is in all things. We are part of the magnificence of star dust.

Dee said...

Dear Molly, I"m back again after weeks of being away but let me assure you that my comment with its praise for your writing was not "extravagant"!!!!!

Hope all is well and that you, too, are simply taking a hiatus from blogging. I keep meaning to post something, but the life of a h hermit provides little to write about . . . if only I were more philosophical and deep thinking I'd have thoughts to share but no. Nothing! Peace from Dee and the cats.

molly said...

Dee - I have tried to comment on your blog, to no avail. There are a few blogs that I used to be able to comment on but now somehow can't. I'll click on 'comment" and it'll tell me to log in to google which makes me growl because I'm already logged in! Frustrating! Not least because it makes me feel stupid...but I'll keep trying.