Dear Cousin,

Summer slid smoothly into the hills without a ripple. It began precisely on schedule, ending the torrential rains and bringing sultry days. Summer flowers are blooming in abandon, with day lilies lining the roadways and nodding their brilliant orange heads at each passerby. The nights now have a summer sound, with the lonely quirring of the tree frogs, joined by the night insects and the croaking of the frogs from the nearby marsh. The evenings are tranquil and warm, but the nights are blessedly cool with a blanket feeling good by morning.

The elderberry blossoms adorn the bushes like lacy bridal gowns, but will soon turn into hard green berries before they ripen into glossy black. Our black raspberry patch looked so promising in early spring with clusters of heavy white bloom, but the scanty berries are disappointing. Our son Andy explained that there is a short period when the blooms are pollinated, and it must have been raining when they were ready.

That explains why the old folk saying got started that if it rains on the second day of June, the blackberries will not bear well. The honeybees simply cannot pollinate the blossoms when the rain is pouring down. Farmers are working from dawn to dusk to harvest the ripe hay. When the rains finally ceased, all the springtime chores were ready at once. There is the sound of mowing machines, balers, farm tractors and weed eaters heard throughout the hills. It is a scramble to try to catch up with everything.

This has been a strange spring, to say the least. The garden crops were inundated with so much water that they just stagnated. The half runner beans turned yellow, and the corn looked stunted. The weeds had overtaken the crops and were thriving. It took a lot of hard work to get it all in shape. With fertilizer and a lot of TLC, I think most of it will revive. Garden work this year bears out the punishment meted to Adam (and his descendents) to “earn your bread by the sweat of your brow.”

The prolonged moisture hardened the garden soil to cement like consistency, and the weeds were difficult to pull. As I heaved and grunted, I thought about the condition of one’s heart. Many times when the storms come in our lives, and the winds of adversity blow, we harden ourselves and grow bitter instead of keeping the tender heart that God desires. We let bitterness and resentment take root, and the soil of our heart hardens around these noxious weeds.

When we pray to have these removed, it sometimes takes a chunk of our heart with it. How much better to keep the heart soft, and when wrong attitudes and bitter thoughts try to take root, they are easily removed. I have found that down on your knees in the garden is a good place to meditate. Give my love to all.



Cousin Alyce Faye

The Waynedale News Staff

Alyce Faye Bragg

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