I remember during my childhood seeing these five letters a lot. They would pop up at the end of a movie or a short story or novel. I remember asking mother what it meant and she told me it meant the “end” or “finish.” She went on to explain that it came from Latin. Today, of course, one rarely sees this term, except maybe in old, old movies, foreign films, or dusty books.
This sketch ( B. Hay Gilbert) was at the end of Archibald Rutledge’s “Life’s Extras” vignette of thoughts and tales. I love the sketch…Haven’t we all imagined that the “finis” of our own lives will result in the opportunity to pull back the “veil” between this world and the next to see what really lies behind the portal of the new life to come?
Nature, in the form of my garden, has taught me more about life and death than anything else to date. I believe God gave nature to us as one of His most valuable “extra” gifts….a teaching gift that keeps on giving throughout our lives…a gift that demonstrates the fragile “curtain” between our life here on earth and the next world.
One day, while going through a a period of grief Rutledge walked through the woods and was given an epiphany to help him accept the loss of life.
“God seemed very near to me in that wood; the beauty of it all trembled with His grace; the music of the birds and trees held His voice. I saw there both life and death- in the green leaves and the brown, in the standing trees and the fallen. If one is honest with himself when he asks the question, What is it that perishes? he will be obliged to answer, Everything that the eye sees.
In the forest, amid those things that God has provided, I came to understand that if we are to hold anything-and in times of sorrow we must have something to which we can cling-it must be to the unseen.
For strength that is permanent, we have to lean on visions; for immortal hope, we have to trust and have faith, not from the things we perceive but those invisible things that our spirits affirm.”
After reading this…I waited until the summer heat began to cool and the sun started its westward descent before looking for life and death played out right before me. Such as…
The thriving rosemary and deceased french lavender (I have never been able to get lavender to grow in my garden…just doesn’t happen, no matter how diligently I care for it.)
Red-tipped bushes that Doodle gave me for my birthday years ago….(left alone) nature turned them into trees right by the tree house….so pretty in the fall and cooler seasons with their red tips. The red-tips are on the border line and right behind them, the woods have been left alone by my neighbor….it is a cemetery of dead branches/trees. Life and death.
Varieties of yellow flowers fill my garden because I love yellow so much….but sadly my beautiful pale yellow petunia basket died this past week…no amount of watering helped…too hot…too humid.
Archibald Rutledge’s observations are true…everything we see visually with our eyes will die at some point in life…only the “invisibles” … hope, faith, and love will see us through this life into the next.
So until tomorrow…As I was leaving the garden a shadow fell across me. Clouds began gathering for a late afternoon shower 🙂 and as one cloud pulled away I looked up and saw the tall, tall, long-leaf sunflower smiling down at me. Life is beautiful in all its brevity!
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh