Friday, November 16, 2012

The Scent of New Normal

New Normal. I first read those words in  90 Minutes In Heaven by Don Piper. Pastor Piper had survived a horrific accident, and life as he knew it, ended. Each day, whether a day of struggle, pain or doubt or a day of joy, was now his "New Normal".  Forget about the life we are familiar with...when it changes, it becomes the life we now have. Embrace's yours.

My New Normal is wonderful, so why the belly-jitters? I had prayed for twenty years that my husband and I would retire to Florida. We have. I dreamt of hibiscus flowers. I have three trees. I'm healthy, fit, happy and content.

So? Why the butterflies? Why the gut-tightening feeling? Two days ago, I dedicated my walk not to my daily rosary, but to sorting the whys. It was a glorious autumn day...mid-seventies, sunny, breezy. I walked the mile to Victoria Commons, then made my way around the community pond.

I took a deep cleansing breath. Ah, autumn without leaf raking and anticipation of snow-rutted roads or black ice. The sun was warm on my face. Another deep breath. A whiff of smoke passed under my nose. Local farmers were control burning somewhere in the distance. I knew this, yet I pictured a roaring fireplace instead.  It triggered half-forgotten memories that could be tasted. My stomach flip-flopped. The scent of pine rose up before me. Around me were dozens of pine trees, their needles a carpet on either sides. The sun dappled on the pond. That's how God must smell, like pine...clean, woodsy. A masculine scent. Prayers drift up to Him like incense, the fragrance like the smoke around me, earthy and pungent. I closed my eyes. How could this be Florida? Smoky air, pine trees with pine cones of gigantic proportions? But it was Florida. And the reason for my excitement.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were peeking around the corner. I couldn't wait to prepare my first holiday dinner in my new home. God had gotten me here by way of a bumpy road. My New Normal was being a retired Floridian living in a community I love. I felt like a new creation, a kid again. I was filled with sheer excitement.  My tired decorations--straw pumpkins, baskets of silk flowers and a pine cone turkey that Jared made in kindergarten-- now looked perky and fresh. I saw this all with childlike vision. It's the way God sees children. In His eyes, we are innocent and apt to fall in a pile of pine needles. He plucks them off us and steadies us on our feet.

 Every day can be a new normal if that's what we desire. Or it may-- just happen. For me, it took years of waiting, an abundance of prayers, much faith and many falls. God dusted me off and set me back on my feet. He gave me the desire of my heart. I knew it when the well-beloved scents of the north  became a familiar fragrance of the south.

New York will always be a part of me. It's can take the girl out of the Bronx but can't take the Bronx out of the girl. It isn't the snow storms or ice slick roads I will recall, but the scent of a crackling fire and huge, sticky pine cones. It's autumn at home. Autumn in my new normal, Florida.
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  1. Wonderful colors and organic natural forms. Reminds me of a painting like Rainy landscape, by Russian painter Kandinsky,, that I saw at, from where one can order a canvas print of it. Really good place to browse the painter’s work and other work similar to your style of painting.

  2. Scott..what a nice comment. Amazing how the love of the written word is closely connected to art. Perhaps with your knowledge of paintings you would know where I can find a painting of the Assumption (the blessed Mother entering heaven) It depicts her resting her head on Christ's shoulder. I have searched for this with no success. Help, please. and Scott...just curious, how did you come across my blog? Thanks for visiting.

  3. That was beautiful Nan. Just reading your description of fall as you know it allows me to smell it here in SW Florida. So happy that you're so happy. Love you!

  4. Aw, Joan..thanks. I knew YOU would like this post. Autumn is a season you love BUT we are headed to the time of year you love the most....Can't wait to see you, Mrs. Kringle. Thanks for reading and commenting. Love ya