Monday, May 27, 2013

Janice Bought a Whirligig for Our Front Veranda!

Janice bought a whirligig for our front veranda! With a multitude of bright, shiny colors, larger and smaller spinning wheels shaped like petals, it is truly a thing of beauty and a joy – at least until it breaks. The poor man’s stained glass object looked adorable while still in its clear plastic wrapping. Even this sometimes jaded, exceptionally frugal, old curmudgeon could justify the not-so-extravagant one Euro cost, purchased from the street vendor at the Laiki (people’s market) and regrettably, almost certainly, made in a sweatshop somewhere in an Asian country.

At home, this simple object-de-art was easily assembled and proudly planted, its plastic spike poking in the dirt in a pot, near the edge of our veranda. Almost before it left my hands, it commenced a rapid spinning motion, the small petals rotating furiously and the larger ones whirling recklessly and freely in the constant, ambient breeze of our sunshine bright, Athens front balcony. Solomon in all his glory could not have been more brilliant in color or hopeful in outlook! For moments, perhaps longer, I stood in rapture, watching the wondrous gyrations, marveling at the elementary engineering, revealing profound beauty that was already at hand, waiting for this simple device to channel it and deliver it to me, amid its brilliant revolutions.
At times, as I go about my too-cloistered and too-busy important life indoors, I catch a glimpse of the state of things on our front balcony. When no one else is looking, I peek beyond the sliding glass doors, to spy on our latest adult toy. Sometimes, many times, actually, it is turning and churning its little heart out, resplendent in all its temporary, multicolored glory. At other times, when all is still or when the sun has finally set, it proudly stands motionless, as if resting, less vibrant and less circling, but a no less viable, solitary and compelling work of art.

Methinks a parable of beauty is planted in that pot on my home’s front balcony. This simple artistic treasure, in ways powerful, spins and shines forth even larger and yet more colorful truths. Beauty is, indeed, all around us, ours for the beholding. But, this natural loveliness often awaits an elementary mechanism to catch our attention, as well as the wind’s cooling breeze and the sun’s brilliant rays. Curiosity and the craving to take notice are the simple means created by our Maker, at least potentially, in every one of us; these two are always essential for fuller and more blessed sightings in this dull gray universe of ours. When the Spirit moves or the wind blows, those who have eyes to see and are willing to risk the peril of looking can perceive the movement and the beauty. But, it is also true that even in the still and dark moments, the potential for beauty stands as near as my veranda.
Life’s spinning, glamorous wheels often go unnoticed by most of us, but they continue to spin anyway, showing us that beauty can never be halted or hated away. Oh, what cosmic and eternal waste we humans tolerate in our busyness and our lower-level preoccupations with less becoming things! At other times, when there is neither sun nor wind, the loveliness remains, powerfully present, like the intricate, well-placed panes of a stained glass window in the night's half-light or the petals of our little whirligig standing at silent rest,  just before dawn.

O God, thank you for creating light and movement. And, thank you, as well, for conceiving still and dark. Give me the grace, the grit and the gumption to discover the wind, uncover the light and enjoy life’s whirligig moments at their brightest and best, despite my pedestrian predispositions. But, O Mysterious maker of silence and stillness, may I also courageously learn how to cherish color and celebrate the wind of your spirit when it is still and dark!

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