Beauty and Time

Yellow tulips

Photo Courtesy of

By Donna Sinclair

This piece was an excerpt from The Long View.

The maple is dropping tiny red blooms on the deck and the tulips are opening too fast. The shady side yard is a sea of white trilliums and I panic slightly whenever I walk through it. (Do not pick the provincial flower. Big fine. Maybe jail or beheading, every Ontario child learns this in school.) The forget-me-nots are a blue haze.

The yard is littered with pots and rakes and bicycles — the contents of the shed, which is getting new walls to replace its rotting chipboard — and I am trying to hide the mess because this yellow mist of daffodils and leopard’s bane and marsh marigolds lasts only for one minute, and then the meadow-rue and shasta daisies will be out instead and I will have missed the sweet woodruff, missed it completely.

I cannot keep up with all this beauty.

Indoors (as temporarily as possible) I note, in a detached way, dust balls on the stairs. No-one has vacuumed for a month. Little clumps of mud have dried on the kitchen floor; I am too driven to care that I am infusing the garden into the house whenever I step inside.

It is spring in the north, the blurry hundred-shades-of-green month of May before the black flies and mosquitoes come to tell us how we pay for Eden. No matter. Charge what you like for paradise, I say to God who made all this. Only slow down time.

But of course we do not pay for Eden. I know this. The garden is overflowing with symbolic wealth, and it is freely given.

Our old apple tree, for instance. It is growing next to the new apple tree, which is now almost as big as its elder. The old one still rains white petals in a blizzard of youthful bloom, this year as always. I stand beneath it, my grandson in my arms, and marvel at the springtime blizzard.

In the fall these trees will be heavy with apples and ancient narrative. The Greek goddess Hera, for instance, comes to mind. She is often pictured, along with a serpent, guarding the apple-laden tree of life. Atalanta the determinedly virgin huntress, was tempted by three golden apples thrown her way in a footrace. She lost the race, and her independence with it. Later, in the Judeo-Christian story, impelled by the human thirst for knowledge, Eve gives an apple to Adam. And much later, Avalon, or apple-land, is the paradise to which King Arthur is carried when he dies.

Only slow down time, I say to God who made the apples and us and him. Only slow down time, because one life is not enough for all this beauty.

A journalist for more than 30 years, Donna Sinclair is an award-winning writer who has traveled widely in Canada, Africa, Central America, Britain, and Eastern Europe. She is the author of The Spirituality of Bread, The Spirituality of Gardening, A Woman’s Book of Days, A Woman’s Book of Days 2, and numerous other titles. Donna lives with her husband Jim in North Bay, Ontario.

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Categories: Christian Life, Donna Sinclair, environment, Gardening, World

Author:Wood Lake Publishing

At Wood Lake Publishing we are passionate about supporting and encouraging an emerging form of Christianity, which is rooted in ancient wisdom and attentive to the movement of spirit in our day. Visit us online at


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