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" A freedom that reveres the past / but trusts the dawning future more..."
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["...and bids the soul in search of truth / adventure boldly and explore." - from "As Tranquil Streams," one of this morning's hymns.]

It is so beautiful in Nashville today. The sun is high in the sky, and many of the trees are gorgeously fluffy with flowers, including in front of the library branch closest to my church. I stopped there after services and there were hundreds of tiny white and purple petals littering the lot in addition to the clusters still on the branches. Across the street, there's a house with several long rows of daffodils.

This year's Stewardship team is using a flower motif to "Celebrate Abundance" - the link will take you to their page, which includes a cute animation of flowers filling the outline of a chalice. There are silk flowers decorating the bulletin boards and signs devoted to the campaign, as well as pinned to the lapels/badges/cardigans/etc. of people who've submitted their pledges. (I picked a daffodil.)

Members were encouraged to walk "or dance!" down the aisles to the collection bowl, and I am always going to cherish the vision of Bob Day - a white-haired and -bearded financial sage - merrily twirling his way down to Giuseppe Torelli's sparkling "Trumpet Tune" (17th century), collecting his flower, and twirling some more back to his pew.

Earlier, between services, I'd gotten caught up in an extended conversation with several church elders (the next-youngest person in the group was 65...) that had roamed from historical sites in Nashville to things (not) bought in art galleries, to taming one's book collections (R. said his rule is never to buy a book that he doesn't intend to read that very week), and to famous people they'd met (it seems I'm only two degrees from Eleanor Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, thanks to H.). And N. explained why H. is sometimes a tad anxious in February: "He knows that if there aren't daffodils by George Washington's birthday, I'm out of here!" (Apparently the promise of early flowers helped convince her to accompany him to the South forty-some years ago.)

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