I stuck my head through blank clouds of a morose day. Drab and listless surroundings uplifted me there, not because of what I could see, but what I couldn’t.
I experienced a revival that day late in March. It was forecast to be a pleasantly warm and sunny day. My jaunt to Winona was fraught with excuses to get myself out of the house. Where was the sun? On a sour note, I grumbled that March leaves us yearning, with its unsightly dirty snow along curbs and roadways, hillsides where bare trees form colorless, topsy-turvy patterns, and brown lawns where barren flower beds yawn at robins’ return.
“SALES” in every store did nothing for me in my restlessness. I seemed to be wandering pointlessly from aisle to aisle, which is not my cup of tea. Claustrophobic from indoor’s confinement, my next move was more like myself. Even during lackluster, not-quite-spring days there are mysteries taking place in long shadows, and carpeting forest floors, details hidden from view in their natural obscurity.
I had the outrageous urge to honk my horn all along my way out of the store’s parking lot. “Farewell you bargain hunters! May you find the treasures that you seek!” Giddy with the juices of spring surging through my veins, I took off for back roads of tranquility. Well, maybe not just yet, but we know what’s to come is already beginning…if we chance to think about it.
I opened the van window for bird song and an internal drum roll of emerging life, where swirling air splashed across my face aroused me with scents of wet moss and decayed swampland. One of our favorite drives in winter is the Whitewater State Park area, through Weaver bottoms. The place appears to be deserted, with dead trees in disarray from past storms, and potholes defacing the roadway. To say that this is an area overrun with wildlife and avian inhabitants is a paradox.
Though unseen, except for occasional ducks swimming along opened streams and wild turkeys that aren’t sure whether they’re coming or going, naturalists are well aware of brilliance springing from emptiness. There’s quite a difference in feeling like you’re in the middle of nowhere and knowing your heart beats with the pulse of life everywhere.
I think of a Bible verse. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Pat and I had noted all winter, as we took this drive, that wildlife seemed to be shrinking from human sight. Birds weren’t flitting from tree to tree naked tree. Yet, one can sense a presence, a resurrection, on the horizon. Knowing doesn’t depend on sight alone. No one questions that spring will follow winter. No one doubts that after night comes the dawn. At birth, the seed of faith is planted in the soul. If nurtured, it is rooted in your life and grows there.
A monk once said, “The madness of great love sees God in all things.”
Driving through spaces that might appear desolate in a sunless stupor isn’t as it might seem. That March day, I poked my head through roiling, gray clouds to a place where my spirit soared! “Experience the earth from the inside,” my mind kept repeating. I wasn’t always drawn to lichen, dried weeds, musky paths, and contorted tree roots, or humbled by drabness of in-between seasons and murky, chilling skies. Faith grows on a person.
One’s true being evolves as we continuously breathe new life into what we’ve already lived and learned. In a booklet of meditations “Light For My Path” it is written, “Salvation is not putting a man into Heaven, but putting Heaven into the man.” Poke through the clouds of doubt, cynicism, hate, and despair and breathe the breath of life that resurrection has consummated…for the earth and for mankind.
Easter is our wakeup call!
Janet Burns has lived in the heart of the county all her life. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.