Here in the time between snow
and the bud of the rhododendron,
we watch the robins, look into
the gray, and narrow our view
to the patches of wild grasses
coming green. The pile of ashes
in the fireplace, haphazard sticks
on the paths and gardens, leaves
tangled in the ivy and periwinkle
lie in wait against our will. This
drawing near of renewal, of stems
and blossoms, the hesitant return
of the anarchy of mud and seed
says not yet to the blood’s crawl.
When the deer along the stream
look back at us, we know again
we have left them. We pull
a blanket over us when we sleep.
As if living in a prayer, we say
amen to the late arrival of red,
the stun of green, the muted yellow
at the end of every twig. We will
lift up our eyes unto the trees hoping
to discover a gnarled nest within
the branches’ negative space. And
we will watch for a fox sparrow
rustling in the dead leaves underneath.
~Jack Ridl, “Here in Time Between” from Practicing to Walk Like a Heron.
“Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It’ll be spring soon. And the orchards will be in blossom. And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And they’ll be sowing the summer barley in the lower fields… and eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries?”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
In our despairing and wintery moments,
we recollect and hold on to memories most precious to us, like a prayer,
recalling what makes each moment, indeed life itself, special and worthwhile.
Something so seemingly simple becomes most cherished and retrievable:
the aroma of cinnamon in a warm kitchen,
the splash of new buds forming on orchard branches,
the cooing of mourning doves as spring light begins to dawn,
the velvety softness of a newborn foal’s fur,
the taste of sweet berries in late spring.
Renewal is happening around us –
and if we dig deep in our longing hearts,
renewal happens within as well.
Death will not have the final word.
Amen and again, Amen.
Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? Do you remember?
This year’s Lenten theme:
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4: 18