Friday, 1 April 2011

Southern Comfort

I have struggled over the years to grow wisteria. Several attempts have failed and other times we have moved on before we could enjoy the lush blossom of this climbing vine as they take up to seven years to produce their first blooms. This year we have been in the "Deep South" of the US for several weeks and have delighted in so many southern comforts of which wisteria is but one. Time and again we were confronted on the journey by strands of trees that had been colonised by climbing wisteria. In some cases the vines reached up over thirty or forty feet. The cascades of deep violet blossoms seemed to hang like curtains in the treetops draping the sprouting new green leaves in soft pendulous swags. 

There is such beauty in the South. The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and the soft hills of the Piedmont North Carolina that stretched out before us when we woke up one morning gladdened the heart.  Bird life abounds from the ubiquitous black vultures to the majestic soaring of the bald eagle. Alligators in the Okefenokee swamp added excitement and a brief sighting of a ground hog, added amusement as on this occasion we did not see another and get a re run of the day.

Southern hospitality was added into the mix which ranged from hush puppies and chitterlings from Pearl's Country Kitchen, which challenged the taste buds and the cholesterol levels in the blood, to the most luscious BBQ ribs I have ever eaten in a friends home in Jacksonville. We had crispy bacon, scrambled eggs, grits and biscuits in one home in Georgia. So southern, so comforting, so good, just like the people we met. We shared food, stories, experiences, struggles, hopes and dreams.  We talked of God our true Father, the father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others with the comfort we ourselves have received. (2 Cor 1:4).  All of us shared our struggles and hardships along the journey but we continually sat back amazed at how the Father had sustained us and held us up on the way. Some might say that this is just a psychological crutch. Oh yes and so much better than the comforts and crutches that the world offers!  Having received his comfort I never need anything else.

Sadly not a drop of the liquid variety of Southern Comfort passed my lips on this occasion.

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