Saturday, November 24, 2012

Scarlet and Magnolia Secrets

I found this scarlet one blazing in the woods not too long ago. Brave, bright little thing, I had to take a picture. Trees are the most magnificent metaphor for the human soul, in my opinion. They wear a demure green mantle for much of the year, and many bare stark limbs in the winter--yet even this outward stripping does not reveal a tree's true form. For there are seasons when trees spill such secrets from heartwood and sap! For example, who would guess that this spindly sapling packed such a wallop of saucy, precious crimson in each leaf?

Or take the Magnolia in spring. It's like the revelation of a goddess!

Yet I must confess that while nothing is more lovely in my sight than a Magnolia in bloom, I would hardly bestow a glance on the tree without its showcase of petals. Likewise, I think there are seasons of the soul. Times when people shine their brightest and best and persistence and cultivated talent find their fruition. I love to witness that moment in people and bask in the sudden reveal: the discovery of the glory which was gemmed up inside them all along, but that nobody noticed until today, not even me. Maybe especially not me. It's perilously easy to become so wrapped up in my own toils that I forget to appreciate the many abilities, gifts, and kindnesses manifested by others.

I believe that everyone is packed with just as much honest glory as a tree. The glow edges out of us in a luminous shadow, waxing and waning with the moments in our lives. I hope I can learn to trace mine in ink.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke

What do you do when murderous ghosts have sworn to kill you because of your family name? Why, summon a ghost knight to defend you, of course! I am in love with Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke, and not just because of the amazing specter battles. When eleven year old Jon Whitcroft is dumped in a boarding school in Salisbury, he finds himself hunted by ghosts that no one else can see. Only the local village girl Ella knows the truth and sneaks Jon into a cathedral to wake a champion from the tombs of dead knights. But after Jon calls the knight William Longpsee to save his life, he soon begins to wonder if his protector is hiding dangerous secrets. Jon and Ella must work together to unravel Longspee's past, and perhaps . . . a way to save the knight. I suppose what I love most about this story is that it's not the one-dimensional adventure formula where the boy meets a girl and battles evil for the ultimate win. It's also about personal redemption and family and finding the way back home, and sometimes, the way to a new home.