The drive to church on Sunday mornings is a joy, particularly on mornings like this morning, when the ponderosa pines are heavy with recent snow, the hillsides silver with it, and the birches and aspens grey in comparison with it. But this morning was even better, because it is Resurrection Day! What a glorious day to celebrate – We as Christians may have some pretty “radical” social ideas, as we are daily reminded. But, as our pastor reminded us this morning, the most radical belief of all is that Christ, God incarnate, perfect and sinless, came to this earth to die a horrendous death for the sins of the world so that sinful humanity would have a way to enjoy a right relationship with God Almighty. He was buried, and was raised from the dead three days later. And, if that wasn’t enough, He, in the sight of His disciples, was caught up into the sky and then disappeared from sight. And, if that isn’t enough to believe, we believe that He is reigning now, interceding for those who love and follow Him. Amazing? Yes. Beyond our comprehension? Yes. Wonderful? Yes! To be free from the enslaving nature of sin, to be made right before a just and holy God? What a reason to celebrate! And what more beautiful day could we have asked for? After a joy-filled Sunday message, spirited singing, and a feast of a potluck, the family and I, along with Roy and Isaak, headed down to the Pringle property for an afternoon of hiking and exploring. This whole last week was rather hit-and-miss as far as springtime weather was concerned. Snow on Wednesday, slush and snow on Friday, but today was a little piece of Heaven. We stomped along in the mud and the snow and the grassy stubble, but jackets quickly came off, shirt sleeves were rolled up, and the snow sank away. The juniper was fragrant in the warmth of the sun, the grasshoppers chirruped in the grass and flew about wildly, and the earliest prairie wildflowers peered up from the red dirt, low-growing and unobtrusive, almost invisible in the scrubby grasses.A few elusive pasque flowers we found tucked away on warm hillsides, growing lustily in the rocky soil – In a few days, they’ll be open and lovely. There is a story of hundreds of pasque flowers having been found down on the Pringle place, but we didn’t come across more than half a dozen today. Maybe another trip. The earliest messengers of springtime. Such a delicate little flower.
The sun was warm on our backs, warm on our faces, as we wandered this way and that. Deer in the distance fled, but a loner antelope watched curiously as we passed him by. The hundred-year-old rose hedge was beginning to leaf out near the old stage stop dugout. We have plans to bring back a clump of the yellow roses sometime this spring, to plant near the Miner’s Cabin.
There were no rattlesnakes in the dugout this time, like there were when we hiked around in August, so we poked around the area a little more thoroughly. Our rambling took us down into the Box Canyon – Moss grew greenly in the wet and cool of the canyon, and remains of cliff swallow nests clung tenaciously to the walls – The original cliff dwellings. No swallows nesting there yet, but I’ll bet they’ll be back. We clambered up out the box end of the canyon. A great little scramble that was, with ice and mud underfoot and very little tread on some of our shoes, always in the process of nearly taking out whoever was unwise enough to be behind us, getting covered in sand burrs, and thoroughly enjoying every minute of it.
It is a season of new life. Resurrection Day is a day to celebrate new spiritual life in Christ and His glorious resurrection. And what better way to spend a Resurrection Day than to be among family and friends and immersed in one of God’s greatest witnesses, His glorious Creation! The first days of springtime mark the beginning of the end of winter, the coming of that new life we all wait expectantly for, as soon as that first fleeting 50 degree day happens. These first things of springtime, in the first days of springtime, are shy and aloof and evasive. But that won’t last forever – Before too long, the prairies will be covered with wildflowers, bursting at the seams with things alive and green and new. Springtime is here!