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June 22, 2021

Roger Barbee: God’s gingerbread

Roger Barbee

Our Victorian farmhouse had some gingerbread, but the ones in the town of Edinburg had much more.
As the town was being settled during the 19th century, the houses were built having decorative gingerbread all over, even in the porch rails. However, on a guided tour of Cape May, N.J., the guide told us how the gingerbread was designed to cast shadows that were to be admired. From then on, while admiring Victorian gingerbread straight on, I also looked for the shadows it cast on the house. The guide’s shared wisdom gave all gingerbread from then on a new dimension.
Across the road from where I ride is a planting of crape myrtles in Brenda’s yard. They have not suffered, as the Grumpy Gardener says, “crape murder” so they branch out from their base. The multiple branches gracefully move upward, and they produce limbs that intertwine.
Left as designed by our Maker, they are beautiful trees, even when bare of blooms. The mature ones across the road are planted in a large bed of seven trees that form a right angle. A row of five, then two at a right angle.
This morning’s ride was earlier than usual and getting out sooner offered a new scene of the yard and area. The sunlight filtered through the many pines in our yard and ended, at first light, on the crape myrtles across the road. Shadows abounded. The planned tangle of their limbs cast a rainbow of shadow. They shadowed each other, the ground, and the brick side of Brenda’s house. As the sun rose, its light captured the other four crape myrtles of the planting and soon Brenda’s yard was a cast of crape myrtle shadows in vertical, horizontal, and angular softness.
Over my 72 years, I have admired various gingerbreads. The houses of Cape May offer outstanding examples. The gingerbread in and around Edinburg, Va., which was made by Jim Sheets, is good, too. But what I saw this morning is best of all. I think it is the early church father Tertullian who writes, “Nature is the teacher, the soul is the pupil.” Finishing my ride, the sun higher in the blue morning sky, I looked at the fading shadows across the road knowing that man’s gingerbread is good, but God’s is better.

Roger Barbee lives in Mooresville. Contact Roger at rogerbarbee@gmail.com

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