The sunshine is beautiful just now, and warmer temperatures all of a sudden have everybody outside. On Saturday afternoon, I saw kids on bicycles and parents pushing strollers. After a long winter and a snowy month of March, we’re all desperately ready for spring. Our eyes are hungry for green leaves and bright, colourful flowers.
Standing outside on the back deck this weekend, I was basking in the glorious sunshine and looking out at…dead grass, dead leaves, and bare trees. Brown and dead as far as the eye could see. Hardly the sight I was longing for!
If we look up right about now, there’s just not much to look at. The sky is blue, but trees are completely bereft of leaves. Climbing vines are barren and lifeless. Even the forsythia–one of the first beautiful shrubs to appear in spring–hasn’t got a speck of colour.
But as I look down, there is definetly more going on than just dead grass. Not the riotous, orange and crimson of mid-summer poppies and geraniums mind you, but humble, gentle colours of the first spring blooms. I have a tiny pocket of snowdrops by the back door, and their white heads gently nod approvingly at me. In the far corner of my yard there are a few purple crocus (the ones that haven’t been dug up and eaten by neighbourhood critters). And when I was out driving today I saw the first blue waves of scilla on a Trafalgar boulevard.
It’s a funny thing for a minister to be telling people to look down, not up. We’re supposed to spend our time drawing people’s attention heavenward, encouraging our flock to seek divine help from above.
And yet–it’s not as if God is up above us, geographically speaking. It’s not like God is absent from our earthly goings-on down here, either. I have great confidence that God likes to hang out in my garden just as surely as God enjoys spending time with a multitude of heavenly hosts. Seeking out God’s company and wisdom is a vital part of life. So, too, is being firmly rooted in the very tangible present. Maybe that’s why I like dirt under my fingernails so much–it makes a connection for me between the spiritual and the temporal.
At any rate, it won’t be long now and things will be looking up. I can’t wait for the lilacs, the tulips and the tender green shoots on tree branches. For now I am content to look down and notice spring’s tiny, beautiful, early risers.
And watch for the greening of the grass. We had an exchange student from Barbados at Wycliffe one year, and in March I showed her all the signs of spring – roses cold with running sap, bulbs coming up, even the grass that was greenest near the building and in sunny spots. She had come in January so assumed that the grass was all dead – forever dead, not winter hibernation.
I love this time of year, spotting the earliest signs of the coming spring.
Yes! I bet it was great fun having someone who had never experienced that change of seasons before–you would see everything with new eyes. As for the grass, well…I will wait for the greening of my weeds.