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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Reformed Theology

It’s early February and things don’t seem so great. Some days are nice, but most days are overcast as morning sees a gray soupy pall ascending until it reaches the dull frozen earth below. When the sun appears it is to warm the  Earth's crust until grass mixes with mud leaving indentations from shoes that must be removed at the door.
February might leave many of us fighting cabin fever as winter’s siege holds us behind our doors. For many, there may not seem a reason to hope.

But for me, this is a time of hope. In February I must cling to the hope that spring will come. Green will return, reborn from the brown leaf litter under which it hides through the long winter.  My hope is based on experience.  For generations spring has brought the color for which I yearn.  Even as December is ending and the hours of daylight grow, it is in such slight increments as not to be detected until February makes me suddenly aware.  Yes, once again the light that never really left will grow brighter and brighter until it warms the Whole; until it warms my shoulders melting the heaviness that I have carried through these dark months. First I see the dark green tips of daffodil leaves as they push through the dirt, pointing skyward.  Next chartreuse parsley appears, seemingly overdressed in its frilliness.  Its immature leaves are curved and twisted to catch  and hold every drop of light.
Each day that I go out to meet the world I see more signs.  If I miss them it is because I'm not paying attention.  I hear the robins now. Soon they will leave the woods which have sheltered them to  once again dot our yards and fields as they search for worms.
Tiny green hearts spread out over a small hill in my flower garden with their promise off bright yellow sunbursts, violets that are the first blossoms of my garden, often blooming through the snow. The corms from these plants have spread around the edge of the compost pile, remnants from an energetic weeding episode. 
Even the trees are getting ready for the promised spring. The redbud has swollen almost to the point of bursting which is just what it will do very soon as its deep pink blossoms are scattered through the woods and line the highways of Appalachia. The two volunteer redbuds in my garden appear healthy despite being eaten by bugs last summer and nibbled by deer this winter.  It is that pink spot repeating itself throughout the woods, seemingly attached like a long string of Christmas lights, that show the connectedness of the entire forest, connected with itself; connected with me, connected with the light.
Another early bloomer is the magnolia though its buds now more closely resemble a dust wand than a flower.  These fleece-like buds give me more hope of what is to come.  Hope that swells from my memories, from my experience, from what I've read, from what others tell me.  We all know that spring will come even though we might forget it in the cold of winter. 
But not in February.  In February my excitement builds as hope becomes faith. There is nothing that I can do to stop it. I have knowledge that the unseen spring will follow as the earth is reformed, reshaped into something new, yet something that has been there all along, connected to that first organism growing under the warmth of the first light, connected to me.


Julie Zickefoose said...

I believe you've got red-shouldered hawks, Nellie. The female will be noticeably larger than the male, should you see them together--she can be as much as a third larger. Sometimes paler, too. When you see them together note who's darker orange on the breast and that'll be a good way to tell them apart when you aren't seeing them side by side. Good stuff! Our redshoulders are getting jiggy, too.

Les said...

I am glad you are hopeful. My mind knows that spring is just around the corner and at some point this month the hellebores and camellias will begin blooming with the first narcissus, but my heart still tells me February is the longest month of the year.

Susan said...

So nice to see the daffodils popping out of the ground and the pussy willows. Miss those signs of spring being down in Florida.