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Soul Space Stories


Welcome to the inaugural connection of our Soul Space community through my monthly newsletter. It will include my serendipity “wanderings with wonder” at the moments of life that feed the soul, whether in nature, through books and articles, community life, wisdom voices, even gardening and cooking pleasures, and more. My hope is these reflections and photographs will offer you encouragement during times in America and our world that are often corrosive to the human spirit. I’ll include a photographic section of “life on the land,” and imagine that you and I are walking through the gardens and Hearth together.  

Life on the land      
The gardens are springing to life, almost hourly.  The star magnolia, one of the earliest shrubs, is in full bloom. Blossoms from the weeping cherry, a gift from Whitworth University’s English department in memory of Krista, is just unfolding. A white flowering tree, whose name I forgot to write down 21 years ago, was planted in honor of our daughter, Susan’s marriage and now towers high in the sky. The daffodils and peach, white and blue hyacinth cast their aroma throughout the gardens. A yellow magnolia, Elizabeth, was ordered through Judy’s Enchanted Gardens nursery after we saw a magnificent one in Boston.  A rare discovery, it’s starting to bud just as the golden forsythias begin to fade. With 65 degrees sun today in Spokane, we watched a robin bathing in our waterfall and pond. Bumblebees have returned too!

We’ve planted dozens of daffodils from White Flower Farms, an east coast nursery with stunning varieties of narcissus. An expensive, but quality nursery, their daffodil collection called “the works” offers apricot, white, double ruffle yellows, orange and yellows all combined so that they bloom for weeks. Each day brings a surprise. 
In honor of Earth Day       
One of my favorite “wisdom voices” in Soul Space (p.101) is Hildegard of Bingen, a 12th century Benedictine abbess. She is considered the founder of scientific natural history in Germany. During our Blessing ceremony for the Hearth almost 18 years ago, guests read her words, so pertinent to today’s concerns on earth care:

Glance at the sun. See the moon and the stars.  
Gaze at the beauty of earth’s greenings.                
 Now think.
 What delight God gives to humankind
 With all these things…
 All nature is at the disposal of humankind.
 We are to work with it. For
 Without it, we cannot survive.
Some favorite readings
Thanks to my book group, I was introduced to the powerful story Where the Crawdads Sing by Della Owens. One sees the immensely important role of nature in the survival of a young girl, Kya Clark, abandoned by family in the marshes of the North Carolina coast. I found Kya’s story so compelling I literally stayed up all night reading! The last time I recall staying up all night to finish a book was early in our marriage when I was captivated by Herman Wouk’s Marjorie Morningstar. Decades later, I learned staying up all night reading is not a good idea!
A fascinating opinion piece by Oliver Sacks in The New York Times on “The Healing Power of Gardens” reinforces the role of nature in mental health that the character Kya discovered in Where the Crawdads Sing:
Meet the graphic designer of Soul Space
Meet Barbara Genetin, the talented graphic artist who deserves so much credit for her stunning book design.  Often before reading a word of Soul Space, people immerse themselves in the book’s design and photos and respond: “It’s gorgeous!” or “What a stunning book!” For more than two years, Barbara and I worked together online and via phone calls as we selected and placed the 180 photographs. I’m so grateful for Barbara’s talents, professional commitment, and joy in giving birth to this vision!  
Responses to Soul Space
Letters encourage writers! During a fun book launch in Seattle sponsored by the Krista Foundation, a stranger handed me a handmade card. Her beautiful card included a typed full-page letter about her responses to the book. She wrote:
“I found that this was not a book to speed read, but a book that needs to be savored and each page soaked up and digested. I felt like I had been on a refreshing retreat just reading and absorbing each chapter, each prayer, and each breathtaking photograph. I wanted to step into the scenes and hear the sound of healing waters flow, to smell the fragrance of the flowers, to see the birds and butterflies flying in this Eden.…Thank you for taking a tragedy that no parent should bear and making it into an opportunity to bring healing to others.”

May you find deep peace in the renewal of life that spring demonstrates.
What a gift to all! 

Copyright © 2019 Linda Lawrence Hunt, All rights reserved.

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