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Friday, April 01, 2016

Spring Restoration

We pull into the dusk of our West Virginia farm as two small deer startle, and then our headlights pick up an entire herd by the clothesline.  Nine more young ones, slender, tentative, blinking, hesitating then jumping the stream to amble up into the shadows of the hollow.  Three weeks ago we left winter, but now a balmy fertile breeze warms the outdoors above the chill emptiness of a long-closed house.  We open the windows to go to sleep, and catch the mysterious call of an owl up the hillside.  Morning reveals three golden glorious forsythia, exuberantly unruly, and perhaps a thousand daffodils.  The sparse clusters I planted last Fall are dwarfed by the sheer excess of an entire hillside of the flowers, and more patches along the stream and in the woods.  Who knew?  This is new territory for us, Springtime.  I hang the wash on the line as four hawks swoop low over the meadow then circle upwards on a draft.  Chickadees appreciate the re-filled bird feeder.  I had forgotten the heady life-ness of this season.

Lent already feels far behind us, the austerity and discipline stir a slight fondness and the snow a memory of its own lean beauty, but I am no-regrets delighted by the new leaves on the fruit trees we planted, by the budding tulips.  Even my Norwegian (3/4)-Swede (1/4) cold-loving partner is quickly ready to embrace Appalachian Spring.

Life, and that life more abundant, rushing, flowing, providing.  This is the season of Easter.  Decay reversed, death swallowed up to become the fodder for newness, for growth.

Sometimes religion in this country can feel smug, and this year evangelical embrace of some hateful politics accentuates that.  One could come through a season of Lent and Easter with a depressing burden of not measuring up, or with a defensive aggressiveness to win back the culture.  In the prayers and the papers we hear dire predictions of decay, a false memory of prosperity-next-to-godliness-good-old-days.  Bathroom signs distract from real problems like racism or lack of care for the alien or addictions or greed.

So please, this April, walk out into the mountains.  Listen for a rushing river.  Glory in the yellow of daffodils and forsythia.  The One who paints this beauty has grand plans for the universe.  Open your eyes to Life, and let your heart long for the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21).

1 comment:

Judith Shoolery said...

What a lovely picture you paint. I grew up in Michigan, a bit north and west of your beautiful setting, and for me, it is the carpet of trilliums rather than daffodils that reminds me of the glory of Easter and its renewal. I am so delighted that you have such a wonderful spot, where your hearts can be reminded of God's gracious goodness to us. You have earned this renewal, and I hope it continues to bring joy into your hearts.