God in all things, Photography, Scenery, Travel

The Stalks

This is a photo of a banana tree in Panama. Which is really just a plant and not a tree. What looks like a trunk is really a “pseudostem” which grows from a “corm” in the ground. The leaves of banana plants are composed of a stalk and a blade. The pseudostem is made up of tightly packed leaf stalks.

When a banana plant is mature, the corm stops producing new leaves and begins to form a flower spike. The female flowers appear in rows further up the stem from the rows of male flowers and will develop into fruit.

So I wonder – if Jesus was born in Panama, would he have said “I am the corm and you are the stalks?” Doesn’t have quite the same vibe as vine and branches, does it?

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God in all things, Photography, Scenery, Travel

Encircled

This is another photo from Panama. This is actually one tree growing around another tree. I think the outer tree is a Strangler Fig (Ficus aurea). From Wikipedia: Ficus aurea is a fast-growing tree. It germinates in the canopy of a host tree and begins life as an epiphyte before growing roots down to the ground. The roots fuse and encircle the host tree. This usually results in the death of the host tree, since it effectively girdles the tree. 

I’m tempted to use this as a metaphor for our spiritual life. In that God wraps us up and takes over our lives. But only to the degree that we let God take over. And it does not result in our death, but abundant life!

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God in all things, Photography, Scenery, Travel

Waiting in Stillness

This photo was taken earlier this month at Longwood Gardens near Philadelphia. It reminds me that during Advent, we wait in quiet and darkness.

Lord of Light, our only hope of glory,

your radiance shines in all who look to you. Come light the hearts of all in dark and shadow.

O Root of Life, implant your seed within us, and in your advent draw us all to you,

our hope reborn in dying and in rising.

For you, O lord, my soul in stillness waits;

Truly my hope is in you.

(Marty Haugen)

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God in all things, Scenery

Autumn

This photo was taken in early November.

It is evident that autumn is upon us, as evidenced by the change in color of the leaves. Fast forward less than two weeks and it feels like winter is upon us.

Just as winter is associated with dying and death, autumn can be associated with the aging process. Similar to the leaves changing color as winter approaches, my hair is rapidly becoming gray. Wrinkles are appearing.

The seasons also remind us of the circle of life. Summer fades into autumn as then to winter which eventually leads to spring and new life. I look around and see new life in my grand children.

God said “It is good”

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Scenery

Mountains

I am surprised that I had not previously shared this photo. It was taken 2 years ago in Glacier NP on our hike to Siyeh Pass. There are so many things I like in this view. The wild flowers in the foreground. The spindly pine trees on the right. The creek running through the middle. But what really draws my attention is the mountain in the distance.

Mountains are a symbol of strength. We talk about “mountaintop” experiences. God spoke to Moses on a mountain. Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount.

Thankfully, we do not have to climb a mountain to encounter God.

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God in all things

God only knows

I chose this photo to share because it makes me think of all the trees that were uprooted or broken in two by the tornadoes on Memorial Day. Viewing the damage to homes and property is heart-breaking.

Why does God allow these things to happen? The short answer is “I don’t know.” The longer answer is “only God knows, and I’m not God.” I do know that we tend to focus on the temporary and immediate. There have been times in my life when something happened that I believed was bad. But in hindsight, I am able to see the good that came as an outcome. Other times, things have happened and I never understood why or what good came from them. But I am able to believe there was good that resulted.

(Photo: Bandelier National Monument)

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Scenery

Artsy

When we travel, I take a lot of what I would “touristy” photos. The kinds of shots many people would take when traveling to that location. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to to travel to so many amazing places in the past few years. It’s not hard to take great photos when you’re somewhere like the Grand Canyon or Glacier National Park.

I also try to take photos that I would call “artsy.” Maybe something most people would see but not take a picture of. Sometimes, a view from a spot that gives a unique perspective on a common sight. In the picture below, I was struck by the contrast between the tree in the foreground and city of Albuquerque in the distance.

In a similar way, there are some Bible passages that have a clear meaning. Other times, I appreciate being able to read the reflections of others for a perspective that I would not have on my own. Among the many resources available, I suggest looking at the daily reflections from itemissaest.org or jesuitprayer.org.

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