Garden Stories (+butterflies+)

Ah, the summer seemed endless this year, so many hot days and blossoms in the garden.

And suddenly we slipped into fall. It catches me by surprise every year, despite its absolute predictability.

As I head out to the hermitage for a couple of days of autumnal praise, I know I will encounter more deeply this changing face of mother earth. When I come back, it may feel too late to share my summer butterflies.

So many did not come this year, despite the lush garden. Was it the heat? The migration patterns? Only a few common species.

Yet I shall not lament but celebrate. For why should we have butterflies at all except for the generous outpouring of God’s own Life as He calls them into being?


So I welcome you, My little Cabbage Whites!


Drink deeply of My nectar.


Let My delights enfold you – for I call you each by name,


And love you more than you will ever know.




And you, My Great Spangled Fritillary, come rest from your labors for I see that you are weary and have worked hard for Me.



And My little skippers! What a joy you are!


For you will let no one forget Me…


Stand strong, My little ones, stand strong!

Keep on teaching them about the beauty of Our life…



More on the great migration…

The monarch migration is one of the things that I most love about this time of year. Since I have already posted photo images, I hope my little video won’t seem redundant. (Cell phone has become a good assistant when camera is not by my side.)

There is a beauty in watching them in motion, tiny, fragile creatures that they are, that adds to my sense of awe that God also made them great travelers.

Drink deeply.


Monarchs preparing for journey from Mary Benton on Vimeo.

Driving while intoxicated

I know it is a very dangerous thing to do. Which is why I pulled over as soon as I could safely do so when I saw it.


The sky images I share with you always disappoint a little because there is no way to portray the enormity of the heavens filled with such swirls of brilliant yellow and orange, rose and gray, upon blue shadow and light.

I was intoxicated. Were not the other drivers who whizzed past me as I sat dazed by the side of the road?

Praying Evening Prayer undoubtedly intensified my drunken state, for as I rounded the bend and beheld the fullness of sky, these were the words I heard:

In him and through his blood,
we have been redeemed,
and our sins forgiven,
so immeasurably generous
is God’s favor to us.

God has given us the wisdom
to understand fully the mystery,
the plan he was pleased
to decree in Christ.

A plan to be carried out
in Christ, in the fullness of time,
to bring all things into one in him,
in the heavens and on earth.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit…

                                                 (Divine Office, Evening Prayer)

Yes, it is almost too much for a heart to bear. “So immeasurably generous
is God’s favor to us…”  And then, if He had only given us the sky, the beauty… But it is so much more.

It was difficult to become sober enough to drive the rest of the way home. The eyes of my heart had been opened and nothing else seemed to matter. But the Lord delivered me safely to my door and I am grateful.

It is time to rest now.


monarch of my soul


i have trekked

the desert of my soul,

longing for your presence…

but your hour had not come.

could it be now?

could this be the time

i finally see you,

my king?


yes! yes!

you manifest yourself

in all of your splendor

and i am bound by love…


i have little to offer you –

so drink deeply,

my king,

and allow me

to feast upon you.


what more could i ask

than what you give?

i shout for joy!


yet a journey lies before you.

 as your wings open

for flight,

tears besiege my eyes

and you are but a blur

before me.

i cannot hold you back.


and yet – and yet,

in that final moment,

a greater gift is given –

an eternity,

an endless moment of beauty,


sailing on your wings


(NE Ohio has had virtually no monarch butterflies this summer but today, I was blessed to receive these images in someone else’s garden. These beauties are likely migrants starting the journey south from Canada. If you think you detect spiritual imagery in the verse, of course you are correct. As I have written elsewhere, I consider the monarch butterfly to be one of the proofs of the existence of God…)