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!

 

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Sunburn and Bliss

Although I kept a great habit of hiking this winter, and getting outdoors quite a bit regardless of the temp, something magical happens when the warmth arrives. The line between inside and outside becomes deliciously blurred. I can eat outside, sleep outside, and stay outside as long as I wish to. The wind no longer bites, the cold no longer burns, and the sun no longer sets at 4pm. There is a gentleness in the wind, even when it is blowing mightily. The sun-warmed, pine-covered slopes are sweet with their resiny perfume, in a way that evokes memories and impressions of my childhood.

The frogs are singing in the dam, we’ve enjoyed our first thunderstorm, and I’ve fallen asleep to the sound of rain on our roof. I’ve woken up with sore muscles from strenuous hikes, sore shoulders that got a little too much sun, and taped blisters on my feet. I’ve hung clothes on the line to dry, and hammocked under the stars. Spring is finally here.2019-04-23_06-41-05After wintertime and never venturing out with fewer than what seems like a hundred layers, it is delicious to wear a tanktop and feel the breeze and sun on my arms, and get a little sunkissed, or even a little toasted. The days are longer, the nights are warmer, and it becomes more of a struggle to stay indoors.

But summer is almost here! And what means work at the greenhouse will start, teaching will be done for the season, and my life will be lived more and more outside. Which is what I love.

So I nurse my sunburns and sore muscles and wind burnt face as glorious symptoms of bliss.

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.

 

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!

 

Rain and High Water

High water for us means that Battle Creek is actually flowing across the southern end of our property, and when it does, we’ve had a lot of rain! God blessed us with more than 3 inches of moisture in the last couple of weeks, which sure gave every growing thing a needed boost! There is a favorite spot along Battle Creek, fondly referenced by a small cave we found which we dubbed “the Mountain Lion Cave,” where the creekbed winds its way through a ravine, with high canyon sides bordering the creek from one side or the other, and clear green meadows opposite, scattered with oak trees and adorned with dame’s rocket. Even when the creek is dry in that stretch, it is a favorite place to explore and rock hound and scramble, but with water running the fun level goes up drastically. We took the dogs down there so they could run and play in the water. I love watching delight play out on an animal’s face. Those two goofy dogs loved the water! Sarah did, too, and went wading in the creek with the crazy canines. I don’t think our pups wanted to leave! Poor Trixie is such a snow dog, the summer heat really gets to her. She becomes a water dog out of necessity!
IMG_7172eIMG_7195eIMG_7180eRain – what a blessing.

A Million Invisible Choristers

I love the sweet sounds of springtime. Especially the sounds prompted by a good, wet rain. Over the past week, we’ve been blessed with more than 3 inches of rainfall, and a chorus has burst into song out in our stock dam. We hear them at at night, singing heartily with the insects, and even during the day their song is tireless. It is amazing how beautiful the ruckus is when a million frogs start singing.
IMG_7254eBut as beautiful and joyful as the song is from a short distance, up close it is stunningly deafening! I was amazed and delighted. I poked around along the banks of the giant mud puddle searching the tufts of grass and smooth brown water for any sign of the little creatures. Not a one was to be seen. Not the smallest plop or telltale rippling of the warm water. I tossed a pebble or two, trying to disturb one enough to make him hop, but they kept right on singing and paid absolutely no attention to me. I could hear them, mere feet away from me, but I couldn’t catch even a glimpse of them. It baffled me, that creatures so tiny and so invisible could be so utterly deafening.
IMG_7251eOne of my favorite springtime sounds.