Tag Archives: fruit

Gardenia and Genesis Unspoken

Gardenia:  transluscent haze 49%; Rosemary 40% masked off of flower

Gardenias are my favorite flower.  I love their creamy white petals and rich, sweet scent.  And being a Southern girl, they remind me of home.

While doing some research on the gardenia, I was drawn to its Chinese and Japanese names— Zhi zi (zhr zzz) and Kuchinashi (koo-chee-nah-shee) respectively.  Did you know that some Chinese characters confirm Biblical accounts in Genesis?

Having heard and seen examples years ago, I was compelled to try to analyze the characters for gardenia.  I didn’t really get very far, because I don’t understand one of the symbols or how it all fits together, but I am still intrigued that both the Chinese characters and Japanese kanji are basically the same, except the Japanese kanji omits the character for seed, but that they both contain the symbol for snake and tree, is reminiscent of what transpired in the Garden of Eden.

gardenia.kanji_2

Interestingly, the fruit of the gardenia contains crocetin, a chemical compound that can protect against retinal damage or degeneration.  Why is that interesting?  Because the serpent in the garden told Eve if she ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge, her eyes would be opened.  Am I suggesting the gardenia bush or tree was the tree of knowledge?  No, because the opening of her eyes was spiritual and not physical.  I just found the parallel interesting.

The characters without the tree and seed represent an ancient Chinese wine container.  Could that be symbolic of the flowers intoxicating scent?  I don’t know, but here’s my take on the whole thing— I could be wrong.  There was one snake above the others that intoxicated Eve with the promise of power if she ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  Because he tempted Eve to sin, God cursed the serpent by saying the seed of the woman, which ultimately symbolizes Jesus Christ, would eventually crush his head or power over mankind.  Is it too much of a stretch?

Another strange thing about the Japanese name for gardenia is it has no connection to its kanji that I can see.  Kuchinashi literally means “no mouth”, and from what I could gather, the name was given either because the seed exit doesn’t open or the flower is symbolic of being unspoken.  Perhaps because its scent and beauty say it all?  I like the second reason better, don’t you?

Is my love a reflection in a mirror?
We meet and yet we cannot speak.
Can he not sense my love unspoken,
The scent and color of gardenias,
Does he not know me?  Oh, my misery!

—Naohimi in The Legend of Semimaru, Blind Musician of Japan


Breathe

Image

Sometimes freak things happen.  Sometimes things don’t make sense, but it’s the only thing that makes sense.  We have a wood pellet furnace and a 4-ton hopper in our basement.  To make a long story short, our latest delivery of pellets began to out-gas a noxious fume.  Both the furnace installer and the pellet deliveryman said the fumes shouldn’t be coming from the pellets considering our setup.  The installer came and checked for carbon monoxide, and thank the Lord, none was present, but considering the presence of the fumes, the installer said he would install a ventilation fan at the end of the week.  In the meantime, we opened windows and doors and stayed in rooms where the air was less foul.

Our older son had been exposed the most and was suffering with what seemed like horrific allergies.  We suggested he spend the night in a hotel or with our other son, but he decided to stay in his room as much as possible with the window open.  Because I was also affected and redeveloped a bad cough and nearly went to the ER, I stayed in a hotel for three nights, coming home briefly each day to take care of necessary things and to take my daughter and her dog ‘Sally’, out where we could spend some time breathing in fresh air.

ImageI was reminded of how God breathed in man the breath of life at Creation (Genesis 2:7), and how Jesus breathed out the Holy Spirit after His resurrection (John 20:22).  I was also reminded of how we are instructed to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh (Galatians 5:16-26).  But walking in the spirit is not some mystical exercise or experience; it is simply living and breathing in a way that is contrary to walking in the flesh.  We can either be like God and breathe out love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, or we can be like Satan and breathe out hatred, wrath, strife, envy, murder, immorality, impurity, and the like.  We can be either refreshing and life-giving or noxious and life-destroying.

The ventilation fan was installed, and while some fumes linger in the basement and can still be detected outside, the main part of the house is liveable again, and our symptoms are subsiding.  It still doesn’t make sense— not only the out-gassing but the strength of the fumes.  And while we experienced some suffering, some good has come out of it, too, for which I am grateful.


The Ubiquitous Pomegranate

ImageLet us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.”  –Song of Songs 7:12

Of all the symbolisms the pomegranate holds, the most common across religions and cultures is fertility.   And like most religions, the pomegranate, too, seems to have originated in the Middle East and reproduced across the world.  Buddhism has a legend in which a pomegranate cured a demoness of an evil habit, the prophet Mohammed is said to have encouraged its consumption to ward off envy and hatred, and Hindus offer it to appease the goddess of retribution and justice. 1  It is a symbol of righteousness and fruitfulness in Judaism, and  Christians and Egyptians view it as a symbol of rebirth. 2   I find it fascinating that scientific studies have found the pomegranate to affect hormones, which in turn can have an effect on fertility and mood.  Not only that but ancient cultures also used the pomegranate medicinally. 3  I guess they weren’t as unevolved and unscientific as we’ve been taught to believe, especially since we are beginning to realize the amazing benefits of pomegranates once again.


Where’s the Fruit

Ripening FruitI’d procrastinated with getting my garden started this year; I could blame it on all the rain we’d been getting, and while it could be a valid reason, I have to take some responsibility too.  You see, I had meant to purchase some mature tomato plants but… I procrastinated with doing that, also.  Even though my neighbor gave me some tiny plants started from seed it looked like I wouldn’t be seeing any tomatoes this year.

However, I went to a perennial garden on an outing with a ladies’ Bible study group and I was so blessed to find some tomato plants being given away… FREE!  They looked a bit ‘leggy’ but they already had fruit and they were  f-r-e-e!  I wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth but rather saw them as a precious gift from my heavenly Father.  He sends rain on the just and on the unjust… on compulsives and procrastinators alike… even procrastinators like me who have proven to be less than diligent stewards.

Anyway, when a friend and I were talking about gardens and veggies before I’d gotten the free plants, I’d mentioned my tiny seedlings and lamented about the probability of not harvesting any fruit.  He’s an experienced gardener and told me to use 10-10-10.  I reasoned it must be fertilizer, but I asked if it was like Miracle Gro®.  He confirmed it was fertilizer but that I shouldn’t use the miracle plant food because it tends to produce a lot of foliage and little fruit.  After doing some research I learned that too much nitrogen will produce lots of leaves but the plant will either not blossom at all or it will produce very few.

Hmm… we can be like that as Christians sometimes, can’t we?  We do things to make ourselves look very mature, but without the right heart attitude and being guided by the Spirit we end up like a lush tomato plant with lots of leaves and little fruit.  I’d rather have fruit and few leaves than no fruit at all, just like my free tomato plants.  I mean, after all, what’s the purpose of having tomato plants anyway?  To make my garden look good so I can show others what a great gardener I am, or to enjoy its fruit?  So… are we nourishing others with our fruit, or do they go away hungry?


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