Just a Reminder…

Just a reminder that spring IS on its way, for everyone despairing that we’ll ever see warm weather or the sun again.
IMG_8378eThese pasques were found in the rain on Resurrection Sunday, on the very back part of our property that somehow I’d never hiked to before! Pasques do well in areas that were recently disturbed, such as land that has been burned or logged, and these were true to form.

What a spring we’ve had!

 

Advertisements

Feathers and Stars

I think we say this every spring, but the weather has been taunting us. We’ve had glorious tastes of springtime, followed by chilly, winterish days, followed by summer weather, then snowstorms. That cycle has repeated itself a few times and, as I type this, the most beautiful snow is falling outside my window, a snowstorm that began at midnight on Sunday.  I’m sure we’ve had 8-10″ by this point, in two different cycles of snow, much of which melted off in between, and it is still coming down relentlessly.IMG_8557e
IMG_8545e
IMG_8503eIn spite of the untimeliness of a snowstorm at this time of year, I can’t help but be awestruck by the beauty of snow, particularly falling snow. Part of me would prefer balmy spring weather and wildflower hunting, but the enchantment of a snowstorm – of trees in the snow, of snow-covered hillsides, of snow falling with a soft sound from heavy-laden branches, of footprints in the snow, of the silence of a snowed-in world – is hard to resist.IMG_8554eEnya, in her song “Amid the Falling Snow,” writes, “A million feathers falling down, a million stars that touch the ground.” That song is one of my favorites, and those lines have always stuck with me.

Feathers and stars, and a world transformed. Winter can last a little longer.

Parable in a Pasque Flower

Pasque flowers appear after the bitterness of winter, often before winter has fully wasted itself out in storms and cold and darkness. They are a sign, a beacon of hope. Asleep in the ground for the months of winter’s cold, at the appropriate time they fight their way to life, seemingly delicate and vulnerable. But what strength is seen in the first of spring’s flowers! Tiny things that should be crushed under what remains of winter, they prevail. Against all odds, they spring up here and there, bathing hillsides in the glory of springtime. They are the first glimmer of hope that winter won’t last forever, and that spring will truly come. There is life in the dead ground. There is warmth, and light, and growth.
IMG_8239eFirst there is one, then a couple, then dozens, then they’re everywhere. Spring has come. Winter is defeated.

How appropriate that they bloom at Easter time, hence the name “pasque,” having to do with the time of Passover, the time of deliverance. The “paschal lamb” was the sacrificial lamb of Passover, ultimately fulfilled in Christ, our once-for-all-time Paschal Lamb.

At Easter, we celebrate hope, the hope and certainty that our Salvation, our deliverance, is secure, through the paschal sacrifice of our Lamb of God, to redeem His people from their sins. The hope began with one man, amidst a storm of controversy and opposition, against which a mere man never could have prevailed. But the God-Man could. His ministry turned into a couple, then a dozen, then hundreds, confounding the religious elite of the day who did everything they could to crush His ministry. It seemed as if they’d succeeded, that gruesome day when they nailed Christ to the cross of crucifixion, a horrific instrument of torture. Christ, the God of the Universe, was slaughtered, brutally, willingly, voluntarily, in order to satisfy the Plan of eternity to save, to give hope, to change hearts, to reconcile sinners to God.

“There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain.”
IMG_8386eFor two dark days, His broken body was dead, buried, but on the morning of the third day, Christ defeated death. Against all human odds or laws of science, Christ broke the chains of death and returned in a glorified human body. Death was defeated.

“Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again!”

What began with one man has blossomed into millions, millions of tiny beacons of hope that light the darkness of this world, that give us hope that the darkness won’t last forever, that the winter of our souls can become springtime, that death can give way to life, that goodness can come from decay. No other religion or person or movement has ever rocked world history like Christianity, and no other worldview can boast the lives radically changed for the better, hatreds healed, hearts transformed. In spite of all opposition, Christianity has flourished for over two millennia. And where it is hardest pressed, there it blossoms the most gloriously. Each life changed by Christ is a testament to the truth of the Gospel, the hope that we have to be reconciled to our Heavenly Father, to have our sins forgiven, to have our hearts radically changed. We aren’t doomed to ourselves and our sins forever. There is hope.
IMG_8255eRemember that, when you see these first flowers of spring. They are a mini parable of how God works and has worked to bring about Salvation, to defeat death, to bring life and hope and peace and reconciliation.

 

My Sweet Girls

I can’t believe I was allergic to cats growing up. Now, I don’t know what I’d do without them. My two kitties, Ember and Cinders, are sweet, affectionate little things, with such distinct personalities and ways of expressing their sweetness. And given that Ember is something of a grouch with other cats, it is amazing that she has actually grown to really like Cinders, and the two of them play and roughhouse hilariously.
IMG_8120e

IMG_8091e

IMG_8116eI spent a little while on a nice morning outside watching them play. God’s creatures are so beautiful.

Spring Again

Another spring is here – for real, this time. We may get some more snow (likely, actually), but when the pasques are out, spring is really, really here.
IMG_8177eI found these on a little trail in Rapid City just before a piano lesson last week. What a lovely find! There are a few other wildflowers I really get excited about, but pasques are particularly special. They mark the end of a long winter, and the beginning of beautiful weather and the promise of more living, blooming things, and of vivid, rambunctious color coming back to the landscape!

 

The Waking

Springtime stirs in the last of her sleep. Winter lingers awhile longer in the Black Hills, but the earth is warming, primed for life and growing and greenness. As much as I love the winter, I’m craving flowers and sunlight and bare feet and sun-warmed skin. I revel in lung-filling breaths that don’t hurt, and breezes that don’t sting, and light with more color. What a glorious time of year.IMG_7855
IMG_7923
IMG_7953Rivulets of melt glisten on the roads, trickling from rocks and roofs and hillsides with the sound of warmth. The memory of winter fades. There is mud everywhere and on everything, absolutely inescapable. The sky is ridiculously blue.

The silence of winter has been broken: by the calls of birds coming back after their winter vacation, that quality of the wind music that is somehow different than in the winter (though I can’t say how, exactly), the buzz of insects, the sound of moving water, the soft noise of wet earth underfoot. Fragrances that go dormant in the winter come alive in the first warming days of spring. The scent of the pine trees. The scent of the good earth.

Earth has slept the sleep of winter. At last it’s time to wake.