The sky unzips with wings, floating, calling the sun from its shadows.
The earth releases its iron grip on the white blanket that fails to warm, and I dream of the fragrant peony and the tall and wild hollyhock, and wonder if the berry bushes boxed up in the club store will grow well in my yard, if it would be worth the space on my little postage stamp of the City on the River in the North.
Eyes strain to see the firsts: first tulip sprouts, first robin, first groundhog.
Check. Check, and check. Five robins this weekend.
The sparrows and starlings have been back, and I heard a jay last week, although it defied my eyes.
Soon my eyes will see the trees slowly open their fingers to reveal the hat trick they do every year. It always delights, and every year I think, "I should take a picture of this road every day from first bud to full leaf." Maybe this year I will. Does everyone know the color of the first leaf? It is not the color of summer--it is the color of new.
Very nearly transparent, tender to the touch...
Yes, in hope and the most ancient of wisdom the trees make leaf every year without fail.
Is my hope that wise? That confident? That brash?
To live out loud even though the sky is gray, the earth sepia, and white blankets threaten to suffocate again?
To know and not care that the leaf will once again turn russet, wither, and die?
Yet we must, or we shall die. One year's crop is meant to take us through the suffocating winter. One summer's fruit--oh, how sweet!--made for us to yearn for, work for, protect, and savor.
How is it that we can hope over and over again? When last year's crop rots, our flesh pales, and all is sepia--what do we long for but life and warmth and color?
When it is too long in the coming, do we give up hope? Do we stay under our blanket of loneliness, remembering only the weight of cares? Even then, do we not wish for hope, however out of reach it seems?
If you are stuck in bed, unable to move, listen as Jesus says to you, "Take heart, child, your sins are forgiven!" (Matthew 9:2)
Look him in the eyes, let hope ring in your ears.
Reach out your tired hand for his.
Believe that he gives you the strength that comes from remembering your sins no more
He stretched his hands as far as they could go
LET the nails dig in deep, crushing bone on their way through
His feet lifted up from the ground
The suffocating pull of limbs tied to a tree
He felt everything, refusing the offer of relief (Mark 15:23)
He who was perfect
became the perfect lamb
so I could know the perfect lover
because he is alive.
|Three Marys at the Tomb, by Bouguereau|
He is coming back for me.