it hits me mid-morning, when i notice the light streaming in the grimy windowpanes, the panes streaked from winter wear and tear, when i notice the light has shifted toward its vernal blue. there is an undertone in spring, the light all but reaches out and wraps my shivering shoulders, the light promises: “you will breathe again. you will bask one day soon.”
so too the crust of earth. it breaks open in the early morning hours, once the thaw gives way, and only in certain patches, the ones where sunlight falls undiluted. that’s where soil softens, and insistent bulge of stem nudges through. not unlike that baby’s head crowning through the birth canal, that nub of newborn green exerts invisible, unrelenting force. it wants to breathe. it strains to make it to the light.
we strain too. we strain this time of year.
and so the earth and sky join forces, the earth and sky and their inhabitants, they give all they’ve got — full moon, sunrise streaks of tourmaline and tangerine, morning song arising from the robin’s throat — they dial it up a notch, a holy notch. they must sense that we’re inching toward end-of-winter full surrender. and if not for their employ, if not for their emphatic labors we might, well, shrivel into tight-wad commas, curl up and call time out.
to catch the earth in the act, in eternal sacred act, you need to pay close attention. need to all but rub your nose along the thawing garden fringe. but when you do, when you inspect the earth’s perimeter, the rim where underworld meets all the rest, you feel your heart go pit-a-pat at every rising quarter inch. in one wee patch along my bluestone walk, a patch where sunshine lands from 10 bells till sometime after two, the little nubs have sprouted frilly collars, have unfurled lemon-yellow petals, and emerged into a borderless swath of hope. they are the necessary harbingers, the first-line rescue squad. the ones the earth sends out to meet the winter’s end, and beckon coming spring. there they lie, morning, noon and even into night: my cheery patch of promise. as if the earth is sending up a lifeline, begging us to not surrender, not throw in the trowel, hold onto hope for just a minute longer.
at about this moment in history, this sorry moment at the end of winter’s hibernation and the daily dirge of downbeat news, when all the earth seems awash in gray and drab, we human species, we need a jolt. we crave a heavenly injection, a many-colored cloak to shake us from our doldrum. and, after these millennia of shared inhabitation, the earth — in all her glory — she gives and gives what we so deeply need.
earth, so often dispatched to be the messenger from heaven. earth, without a single word, pulses with life-saving, soul-searing homily and, in time, the hallelujah.
all earth asks is that we listen, is that we open wide the pores. earth and heaven will indulge us. will bathe us in a holy light, in skies awash in pink, in flutterings of wing, and stem and bloom that will not, will not, shrink from vernal task: to whisper the coming once again of hope.
what signs of hope have tickled your consciousness this week?
The giant moon last night was glorious … such a crisp, clear night. Thought of you! Can’t believe your garden is already cracking open … ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, says the soul. xo
that big fat moon did its job last night and pulled me out the door to stand under its eery glow. i craned my neck and counted stars and stared at the heavenly wonder. and of course i carried you with me, in my full lunar heart. ( i saw that february 2018 was one of those rare months without a single full moon…..last time was 1999. roughly every 20 years…..)
I’m still reading Joan Chittister. This hit me like a brick just now. “Survival is what gives an older person the right to encourage a younger generation in the right to hope, to know that what is happening to them at the present moment is not the end either of the world or of their lives. There is always a resurrection in each of our lives, if we will only believe in it and give ourselves to its coming.” It is so very hard to believe that right now… but your harbingers of Spring… yes…hope. xo
oh, that joan! that is might powerful, indeed. i am going to practice believing and believing today. and by practice i mean try to keep it front of mind. thank you for bringing saint joan to the table. xoxox
What a delight to see bright winter aconite budding in your garden, and to absorb your gorgeous ode to spring… It was precisely what I needed today. Thank you. xxxooo
i just looked up the word to see if i could find out anything, and i see that it’s medicinal (and poisonous) but used to relieve pain. so apt — it relieves the pain of end of winter when we are all at the ends of our ropes. i know it brings me joy every time my eye lands upon its sunny heads…..
Oh this week of weariness, my old man of a mountain (Dad) decided to not take any notice of his heart and it attacked. He is still here, on borrowed time…makes me worry with such fear and then this bleak-busting beauty of a writing..as I needed it. I prayed on the porch yesterday for signs, any that spell some kind of hope or surrender and a huge black crow flew right through the yard, cawing. When I get to the woods and disturb their secret places, the caws are alarms, but this was alarming…a harbinger of hearing and responding? I do believe hope flies, cawing nonetheless. Thank you dear Bam for heralding the thaw. Whew…your Spring is always earlier than mine now, keep echoing it’s message, I am here, I will listen…and try to remember too. We strain too…how could you put it so, so, so blatant! (meaning, I simply did not want to be reminded of blessings, darn it. Too strain is to eventually be blessed, this I know, darn it.)
oh, sweet angel, sitting here on a saturday night as your missive floated in from the north woods of maine. i am soo sorry about your papa, and the heart that attacked. love porch prayers. reminds me when i sat beside you in your creaky porch swing back in illinois. i do believe in caws, carrying hope. will hold you and yours in my prayers. and will keep sending warm winds your way. from my aconite to yours, sending love. much love. and prayers.
found this garden morsel, and meant to bring to the table…(from Old House Gardens gazette…https://oldhousegardens.com/newsletter/)
“But each spring . . . a gardening instinct, sore as the sap rising in the trees, stirs within us. We look about and decide to tame another little bit of ground.”
– Lewis Gannitt, 1891-1966, American journalist and author