Sunday, August 06, 2006

favorite street

"I walked out this morning
It was like a veil had been removed from
Before my eyes
For the first time I saw the work of Heaven
In the line where the hills had been
Married to the sky
And all around me every blade of singing grass
Was calling out your name and that
Our love would always last
And inside every turning leaf
Is the pattern of an older tree
The shape of our future
The shape of all our history
And out of the confusion
Where the river meets the sea
Came things I'd never seen
Things I'd never seen"
--Sting
"I Was Brought to My Senses" from
MERCURY FALLING (1996)


Wall Street, Broadway, Park Place, Lombart, Haight/Ashbury, Hollywood Blvd., Sunset Blvd., Third Street Promenade. Those are all famous streets that probably bring some very specific pictures to your minds. However, my favorite street is Linwood Avenue in Santa Ana, California. The above picture shows Linwood in June.

Linwood is just two streets over from where I work. Sometimes I walk down it. Other times I drive up it even though it's not a direct route to my school. As you can see, Linwood is lined with jacaranda trees. Jacarandas produce these beautiful purple flowers. They start blooming in spring and they are a sight to behold. I read that jacarandas are also known as "exam trees" because it's too late to start studying for your finals if the jacarandas are beginning to flower. At work, they remind me that, soon report cards will be due and I will be saying goodbye to another group of students. As go the jacarandas, so does life: full of cycles, changes, and seasons.

In the case of Linwood, the jacarandas run up and down both sides of the street between 4th Street and the 5 freeway (in first photo at the top, the green hedge you see behind the very last house in the cul-de-sac is actually the wall of the freeway). When you drive down the center of the street, there is this lovely arched canopy of purple. Better yet, so many of the flowers drop on the street, that it looks like a purple carpet. These photos cannot capture it. It truly is a beautiful sight.

Many people have said that "California has no seasons" and I can certainly can understand why they say that if they are comparing it to New England or some place where you can get snowed in during winter, but the fact is it's simply not true. You just have to have the eyes to see. Take the jacaranda, during the fall and winter these trees are naked and not particularly beautiful; yet, when I see them in that season, I know their potential; I know what is coming. Months later, for about eight weeks, the violet trumpet-shaped blossoms on these trees scream to me: "God does not lack in creativity or power."

I suspect that some of you reading these last several posts of mine, talking about how so much of nature confirms my belief in God, could be thinking, "How can you be so sure there is a creator?" I know some of my friends and family don't have faith in God, but I do. I just know. Obviously, it's not just the nature around my workplace. I often think back to the times I went scuba diving and saw things of every color under the sea, amazing fish that seemed as though an artist had airbrushed them. I mean why purple flowers? Why purple, yellow or blue fish? Why so much variety? I remember Chrisy and I hiking up Moro Rock just south of Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park and being blessed with this amazing clarity and perspective. To me it all speaks of God's brillance and goodness.

Just this past week I watched the movie A WALK TO REMEMBER (yea the one with Mandy Moore). At my request, a female junior high student of mine lent it to me. In it, Moore's character, Jamie is well-grounded in her identity in Christ while her boyfriend, Landon, by his own admission, has no faith. In one scene that really moved me, Landon asks her how she can be so sure. Here is what Jamie says:

"How can you see places like this and
have moments like this, and not believe?
It's like the wind, I can't see it, but I feel it.
I feel wonder and beauty, joy, love.
I mean, it's the center of everything."

I so understand what she was saying. It's like the lyrics at the beginning of this post, sometimes the wind blows just right, almost through me, and every blade of singing grass seems to be calling out His name. For me, these jacaranda trees that border Linwood Street are such a part of that wonder and beauty. They actually produce joy in me, and they speak of God's love for me. That's why I so appreciate Linwood Street. It's my favorite.

"Come, let's shout praises to GOD,
raise the roof for the Rock who saved us!
Let's march into his presence singing praises,
lifting the rafters with our hymns!

And why? Because GOD is the best,
High King over all the gods.
In one hand he holds deep caves and caverns,
in the other hand grasps the high mountains.
He made the Ocean--he owns it!
His hands sculpted Earth!
--Psalm 95:1-5
(The Message)

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Doah, I've been thinking a lot about nature and God this summer as well. Just yesterday, I read this poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and wrote in in my journal.

The little cares that fretted me,
I lost them yesterday,
Among the fields, above the sea,
Among the winds at play;
Among the lowing of the herds,
The rustling of the trees,
Among the singing of the birds,
The humming of the bees.
The foolish fears of what may happen,
I cast them all away
Among the clover-scented grass,
Among the new-mown hay.
Among the rustling of the corn,
Where drowsy poppies nod,
Where ill thoughts die and good are born-
Out in the fields with God!

What happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard.
Have a fruitful day! Lorie

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Hiding on the backstreets, hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets, hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets, hiding on the backstreets
-you know who

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