Pine Pollen

Pine Pollen post thumbnail image

  It’s pine pollen time on the island!  Though I rarely see the yellow particles in the air, I can readily identify their presence on everything left outside—tables, beach shoes, chair, and our car.  All surfaces are coated with a fine yellow film that makes some cough and sneeze.  Once I saw the wind dislodge clouds of pine pollen, setting drifting across the bay though usually it’s invisible.  Despair and depression can be like that.  Individual causes may seem minor, but soon they accumulate and coat everything that should be shiny and bright.  Suddenly the world is dulled in despair and hopelessness.  Please help me, O Lord, to shake myself free of this choking coating so that my enjoyment of the life you’ve given me is not clouded by the accumulation of problems and worries I’ve let pile up.  Help me to breathe in the breath of your life and your love so, like the pine pollen set adrift over the water, I am free to be joyful in your presence. Amen.

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Friend and FoeFriend and Foe

When we moved to FL from MI, we were given weird tales of flora and fauna.  Gators that lurked everywhere, dining each evening on cats and dogs.  Snakes, all poisonous, hiding under each leaf, eager to puncture and inject their venom.  Poisonous plants and trees, scorpions and centipedes, millipedes and giant cockroaches—creeping, crawling, and flying horrors that seemed overwhelming.  I’ve lived here now for 24 years, and my life is one of peaceful détente. Yes, there are poisonous creatures, but their poison is chiefly a defensive mechanism; if left alone, they tend to hurry away.  Should such a creature be more persistent, the hose usually does the job.  There are, it’s true, some unwelcome creatures here that bite with unpleasant consequences, but similar creatures exist in most other places as well.  All in all, I am in awe of the world around me.  Live and let live is our general philosophy since we are the newcomers.  To see the beauty and variety of the world around me is to see God in all of His creative energy.

Cloudy WindowsCloudy Windows

  My windows are covered with salt spray, especially those that look on the ocean.  When I peer out, what I see is clouded and spotted, distorted by the deposits made in each tiny drop.  My life is sometimes like that.  I am distracted by tiny ‘things’ that leave their mark on my vision, distorting and marring the view.  Each drop is so minute, and yet the accumulated distortion affects all that I see.  Pettiness and resentment encrust my perspective, making me cross and depressed.  Seeds of selfishness cause small changes in my view until I see only what is blurred and misshapen.  How can I see your world clearly through windows that distort my vision and its clarity? I pray, O God, help me wash my spirit and scour away these distorting deposits.  May I look through eyes that are clear and loving; may I see others as you see them.  Please help me see through eyes washed with your water of love and forgiveness; help me see only as you see.

Thinking Through TrashThinking Through Trash

This week’s rough wind and waves have torn piles of sea grapes and left them strewn on the shore. I picked my way along their drying heaps thinking of how unattractively they litter the beach. Then I noticed shore birds pecking through the sea grapes, finding bits of food among the tangled leaves and stems. I’m surprised to see so much bounty being discovered, and I’m led to wonder about the litter in my life—what can it be made to yield? Often it has been a crisis that tempered my judgment and brought me closer to God. I spent six months in a body cast, confined to a hospital bed, and learned more from that experience than any university course or self-help book. My father’s early death taught me about faith and forgiveness and the importance of living each moment. Maybe I need to re-examine the detritus of my own life more carefully, identifying the nourishing insights it might produce. Please help me, Father, to see your hand in everything that happens; may I use my life in accordance with your will and in your service. Amen.