Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Root Rot - Or A Better Story ?

"...the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter.  Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show."  ~Andrew Wyeth

There it was, sitting on a small wooden stem, underneath all the dead foliage from last season's flowering.  A new bud, and it is only January.

Slowly, methodically, I pulled away more and more brown and brittle dead "stuff" and as I did I saw more and more little reddish buds perched on their stems.  They had color and life, even amidst all that cold, stiff, brown, vegetation.  They were simply awaiting their time to bloom.

My newly transplanted planted peonies, which were three to four feet tall by summer's end, with massive greenery and blossoms as big as dinner plates, had by mid-winter shrunk to puny looking brown sticks of about half their former height.  If you were to glance at them, you might reasonably conclude they were dead.

However, they are not dead (lifeless, finished, hopeless) but rather they are currently dormant (latent, invisible, yet to be manifested).
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I'll be honest with you, I mostly hate winter.  I don't like being cold. I dislike trekking about doing errands in the frigid rain.  My arthritis flares up and my spirits spiral down.

Last fall we planted tons of new shrubs and plants that looked wonderful and truly added to the natural beauty of our little half-acre.  And then came winter.  Nearly everything has shriveled up, wilted down, and gone to sleep.  They are not dead - just dormant.

But oh, do they look dreary.

You can imagine, then, my excitement yesterday when I went out to do a little mid-winter tending to the peony plants.  According to my gardening book peonies should not be cut back until all foliage has died off and the first frost of the winter is past.  Then, and only then, do you cut them back, and put mulch around their base.  Otherwise, you can get root rot and fungus!  

When I discovered bud after bud, colorful and full of promise, I was just as pleased as a proud parent when her offspring has done well, even in dreary circumstances.

As I headed back into the house, after stowing my tools, and gloves; I suddenly wondered whether the Father might be just as pleased when I show some promise of renewed commitment and contribution.  

Perhaps you have been dormant lately, cold and lifeless; and perhaps there is yet coming a time of fruitfulness.

How I want to avoid spiritual "root rot" - stay away from the nasty fungus of the soul that tempts me to think there is little point to any effort of mine.  

I was so pleased with those little red buds yesterday that I smiled for a long time, and thought a lot about how beautiful they will be in the coming months.  All that promise just waiting to unfold.

Does God wait for me to develop a small bud of patience, a little shoot of faith?  Is He so glad when He sees them that He smiles upon my life when I allow His timing to begin to manifest itself in fruitfulness?

Those buds cannot know how happy they made me yesterday.  They cannot perceive how often I smiled as I considered the pleasure they will soon bring.

Even so, in my ignorance and earthly blindness, I cannot know how often God looks upon my life, even in times of winter barrenness, and smiles as he sees a small new bud of faith and fruitfulness begin to take shape.  
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Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9 NIV)      

So friends, let's be on the lookout for root rot and fungus - as we look toward the fruitfulness of spring.  The whole story is not yet told. Until next time ...Marsha     


  1. That must be a pleasant surprise to see the buds of life reappearing. I have to wait for the rains to come.

    1. Diane-
      Here's truly hoping that your area gets some rain soon. And that you get a break from the heat!

  2. I love your writing. I really love the layers you craft in each post. I really do think you could put these together in a book~

    1. Shelly,
      What a wonderful - and touching - compliment. Writing, for me, is like painting, or knitting, or any other craft for others. I am not very "handy" at most of the arts and crafts type activities. But writing ... well, as your own writing clearly demonstrates, that comes from the soul. Have a wonderful day.

  3. Dearest Marsha, your words today seep into my weary heart and give sustinence to a soul so barren I had little hope that I could feel joy again. This is the anniversary month of my dear husband's homegoing. It isn't recent, will be four years on Jan. 26th, yet I feel as though it were just yesterday. Tears spilled from eyes and over my face as I read your words. How I need those buds of promise in my spirit. How I long for the day of a new beginning and new hope. How I long to see my Father and to rest in my eternal home. I had lost all sight of the rest He offers as I linger here. Thank you for reminding me of the hope of new beginnings and rest right here where I am planted. It is a hope I needed more than my words can express! May the Lord bless you as you await the blooming to come.

    1. Diane,
      Believe it or not, you came to my thoughts as I was writing the post above. I always appreciate your feedback, but your comments above are truly humbling.
      You have my prayers and hopes for a fruitful spring in your life this year. Blessings to you - Marsha

  4. What a gift! I like to think of it like the flowers are resting so they can come out and do a fabulous show for us.

  5. Wonderful post today Marsha, reminding us that spring really isn't that far away! My poor garden is looking so sad at the moment, with all the continuous rain we've been having over here. I'm so glad that bud made you smile. We certainly need something to lift our spirits. I loved the paragraph about wondering whether God feels happy when you developa small bud of patience. Beautiful. Blessings to you.

  6. What a great reminder, Marsha! Thanks for sharing this post!

    You blessed me today!

  7. Marsha I needed this reminder today. Dormancy is actually a gift, and I need to view it as such in those dormant times. I'll try to remember your red buds appearing....and my daffodils that are poking their heads up in this -5C weather. Silly flowers!

  8. Hi Marsha!
    I'm back from my blogging hiatus that was initially a choice then turned into a forced one when the computer was laid to rest after a long haul of duty.
    I'll be spending time catching up on everyone's posts/life. I loved this post, and do hope I am able to stay clear of root rot, though I may from time to time suffer from foggy bottom brain...

    So happy to be with you again...many hugs to you and yours~

  9. Marsha, this post just touched my heart so much - it brought me to tears.

    Yes, I now live in an area that has some *winter* - this morning I awoke to 17 degree weather (in sunny California!!). But, there is a beauty in it, too. So, your story meant more to me as I looked out on a dormant winter landscape. I loved how you compared your peonies with our spirits.

    Yes, I was greatly encouraged thinking that my *dormancy* might just be a time of God preparing me for future fruitfulness. Oh, how I want Him to see the sprouts of faith within me.

    Thank you for this one.