Snow fell last November before I seized the opportunity to deadhead my lower, backyard garden – the last on my list of dried stems and seed heads to feed a burn pile.

Neither did my mate and I carry our weighty statue of St. Francis of Assisi from his post on the terrace to the garage for his winter doze.

“We’ve done enough work this growing season,” I spoke to my helping hand. “Let the birds eat the seeds. St. Francis will appreciate their company.”

He agreed.

Well, a goldfinch, house finch, or cardinal has yet to perch upon St. Francis’ head, or land on seedpods. Whenever in the kitchen, I keep watch from the windows, binoculars and Bird Identifier chart handy in effort to spy more Michigan birds.

I hope to witness the day wings descend upon my winter offering. The sight and sound are as delightful as a playground of youngsters on a summer day, albeit brief.

Meanwhile, I admire this month of fondant landscapes on walks and from inside the house. Amongst all this white, I’d welcome the contrast of a crow or two. And their laughter. Any cheerful, living thing.

No, I don’t suffer cabin fever, anxiety, or fear, for God meets all our needs according to His riches in Glory. And truly, my lower garden is quite content to overwinter wild.

Which means I’ll have more Rudbeckia, phlox, and Echinacea seedlings to weed and transplant this coming spring.

What troubles me is a phone conversation with a young mother two days ago. A visitor of my former lavender farm, we reconnected after fourteen years. Her voice sounded tired and discouraged.

“Are you ill? May I help?” I said.

She hesitated. “No. Thank you for asking. Work is overwhelming. We’re off today because of the snow, and my son and I dread going back.”

“Where do you work?”

“My son’s public school. The administration mandates masks. I’m a kindergarten assistant, and cannot bear what’s happening to the children and my boy. We can’t sleep for worry.”

My first conversation with a public school teacher regarding this dilemma, I replied with the only response I felt capable to speak.

“Would you like a lavender bouquet to help you rest?”

“How will you do that?”

“I keep bundles of dried lavender for occasions like this.”

“Yes, please.”

That evening I packaged my promise with two lavender sachets. The following morning I woke feeling my love inadequate to encourage this weary mother and her child.

I recalled my difficult meetings with school administrators, teachers, and coaches who crossed the line of their authority with one of our three girls. Both private and public schools.

Dear Reader, a neighbor plowed one side of our circle driveway, enough for now. Enough for my husband to drive my package to the post office.

I pray my gifts are enough to grant my friend and her son a ray of hope. I pray God meets all their needs according to His riches in Glory.

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