The Beat Goes On

The sun rose in the east this morning just as it has since God spoke light into existence.  A quiet, soft breeze rustled the fresh leaves on the trees.  Hummingbirds whirred around the feeder hanging on the back porch.  Like school children at recess, three squirrels scampered along the top of the fence in a game of chase.  The flowerbeds burst with bright colors of red, yellow, purple, and white.  Branches of the old Loquat tree in the corner of the yard, hung heavy with Loquats waiting to ripen.  The grandchildren always enjoy the harvest and a dose of sweet goodness in the fruit.  A falsetto call came from an agitated Mockingbird diving in large swoops at the neighborhood Tom cat making his morning rounds.  Clouds rolled in to give the vegetation a dose of relief from the heat.  This is the world of nature.  Day in and day out, with perfect order, nature keeps constant rhythm as a pendulum on a clock.

Tom Cat

The news headlines are bleak as COVID-19 blows across the world seeking whom it may devour.  The fortieth case of Corona virus was announced for Houston, Texas  making the worldwide infected number over 200,000 cases.  Our current living population has never experienced the type of chaos and uncertainty as we are experiencing today due to the present pandemic.  The young look to the elderly for answers for which even they, in their years of experience and wisdom have difficulty explaining.  Fear knocks on the doors of our hearts wanting to overtake our sanity.  We ravage the grocery store aisles stocking our pantries with food and an occasional find of scarce hand sanitizer or toilet tissue which allows us to feel in control of the monster we cannot see.  The stock market continues to dive deep.  Some investors watch their life savings slip through their fingers like grains of sand.  The United States of America and the rest of the world is in perceived crisis.

Small purple vine

Seeking a way to escape the bleak news headlines and refocus my life, I strolled around the yard this morning and marveled at the beautiful peace we’ve been given in God’s perfect order.  Because most businesses, schools and public entities are closed to flatten the curve on the potentially deadly Corona virus, the City has less traffic and noise.  An eerie hush hovered on Lilac Street this morning allowing me to turn my thoughts to the landscape of creation.


Just as the tick-tock of a clock, never missing a beat, the birds sing, flowers bloom, trees bear fruit, animals go about their routine, the rain comes, the sun rises and sets.  Soaking in the freshness of spring, I was reminded of Matthew 6:26-27 – “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value then they?”.  As I pondered this verse, two black crows landed in the yard each grabbing an earthworm right out of the lush green grass.  They hopped along as they enjoyed God’s provision then seemingly without concern, took to the air in flight.  As the crows flew away, I recalled Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  That was what I was seeking this morning, rest for my weary soul.  Rest from the burdens of dreaded news headlines and reports of doom and gloom we have all been hearing for weeks.  I opened my eyes and heart to the lessons in my environment.  Nature never over-gathers, never questions, or never stalls in its rhythm.   The constant, steady beat goes on, totally dependent on God’s control.



Ditch Robbing

Loaded with all the necessary tools useful for ditch robbing, along with the prodding of an old friend,  I donned my black rubber boots and headed north on Avenue D to the outskirts of Katy.  I drove under the 30-mph speed limit in order to soak in the change that has taken place since my childhood.  Forty-five years ago, I could name every resident along Ave D as they were my playmates; the ones who did life together.  Most of those homes have now changed owners, exterior paint, and landscaping.  The once innocent childhood of running door to door to collect enough kids to play a game of kickball or mumble peg is gone and is replaced with busyness, traffic, noise and insecurity.  This is called progress.

A small, fast car rode up close behind my bumper and honked.  Obviously, the driver was not reminiscing and didn’t appreciate that I was reminiscing on his time.  If he only knew what used to be…the honk of the horn snapped me back to my mission at hand and the reason for the tools in my car.  The ditches are full of wild Amaryllis this time of year.  They are all the same color, white with touches of pink  veining.  These Amaryllis thrive in warm organic mud.  They love the wet, soggy soil of deep road ditches which at one time all flowed freely with water draining from the vast prairie of rice fields or a welcomed heavy rain.  The long stemmed, wide leafed plants have come and gone for over a century, marking the entrance and passing of each spring.  These beauties are about the only constant among the rapid pace of development and expansion that drives our once small, rice farming community.  Morton, Clay, Beckendorff, and Stockdick School Roads all display these clusters of God’s handiwork.


Raising the shovel and embedding the steel into the thick mud, I was reminded of the hands that toiled long before me in the same fertile soil.  In his younger years, my dad, Morris Oliver was one of those hands.  His shovel was like his right arm as he labored in the fields moving dirt, making way for the flow of water to irrigate and sustain rice on the Katy prairie.  Many calloused hands before him moved soil and assisted Katy’s agricultural progression. This morning, gripping my shovel like my dad and those settlers before him, I toiled to preserve a small piece of days long passed, by harvesting a wild Amaryllis to be planted and shared, as our beloved Katy presses forward in an ever-changing commercial and residential world.