Between Midnight and Dawn: The World Bereft

octobertwinlakes7

waterfall

All my longings lie open before you, Lord;
    my sighing is not hidden from you.
 My heart pounds, my strength fails me;
    even the light has gone from my eyes.

For I am about to fall,
    and my pain is ever with me.
 I confess my iniquity;
    I am troubled by my sin.
 Many have become my enemies without cause;
    those who hate me without reason are numerous.
 Those who repay my good with evil
    lodge accusations against me,
    though I seek only to do what is good.

 Lord, do not forsake me;
    do not be far from me, my God.
 Come quickly to help me,
    my Lord and my Savior.
from Psalm 38

octobertwinlakes11

The darksome burn, horseback brown,
His rollrock highroad roaring down,
In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam
Flutes and low to the lake falls home.

A windpuff-bonnet of fawn-froth
Turns and twindles over the broth
Of a pool so pitchblack, fell-frowning,
It rounds and rounds Despair to drowning.
Degged with dew, dappled with dew,
Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through,
Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern,
And the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn.
What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.
~Gerard Manley Hopkins “Inversnaid” 

 

birchmorning

There is despair in the wilderness of untamed hearts.
Such wildness lies just beneath the surface;
it rounds and rounds, almost out of reach. 
How are we spared drowning in its pitchblack pool?
How can we thrill to the beauty rather than be sucked into the darkness?

He came not to destroy the world’s wildness,
but to pull us, gasping,
from its unforgiving clutches as we sink in ever deeper.
As weeds surviving in the wilderness,
we must grow, flourish, and witness to a wild world bereft.

O let us be left.
Let us be left.

drizzleplumbuds

drizzleweed

 

During this Lenten season, I will be drawing inspiration from the new devotional collection edited by Sarah Arthur —Between Midnight and Dawn

Between Midnight and Dawn: No Flower Can Wither

 skagitwillow

daff20162

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.  For,

“All people are like grass,
    and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
    but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

And this is the word that was preached to you.
1 Peter 1:23-25

 conwaychurch1

How fresh, oh Lord, how sweet and clean
Are thy returns! even as the flowers in spring;
         To which, besides their own demean,
The late-past frosts tributes of pleasure bring.
                      Grief melts away
                      Like snow in May,

         As if there were no such cold thing.

         Who would have thought my shriveled heart
Could have recovered greenness? It was gone
         Quite underground; as flowers depart
To see their mother-root, when they have blown,
                      Where they together
                      All the hard weather,
         Dead to the world, keep house unknown.
         These are thy wonders, Lord of power,
Killing and quickening, bringing down to hell
         And up to heaven in an hour;

Making a chiming of a passing-bell.

                      We say amiss
                      This or that is:
         Thy word is all, if we could spell.
         Oh that I once past changing were,
Fast in thy Paradise, where no flower can wither!
         Many a spring I shoot up fair,
Offering at heaven, growing and groaning thither;

         And now in age I bud again,
After so many deaths I live and write;
         I once more smell the dew and rain,
And relish versing. Oh, my only light,
                      It cannot be
                      That I am he
         On whom thy tempests fell all night.
         These are thy wonders, Lord of love,
To make us see we are but flowers that glide;
         Which when we once can find and prove,
Thou hast a garden for us where to bide;
                      Who would be more,
                      Swelling through store,
         Forfeit their Paradise by their pride.
~George Herbert “The Flower”

 

drizzlecrocus
primula2

As they are meant to do,
the crocuses creep skyward,
snowdrops flourish,
the orchard tree buds swell
daffodil bulbs awaken bright from their autumn burial.

Bird song is plentiful again in the gray and frozen mornings
and frogs’ chorus rejoices again in the evenings.

There will be spring again in only a few short weeks,
despite how dark things feel now.
Exhaustion will be replaced by renewal
and fresh air filled with the sweetness of cherry and apple blossoms.

Our fields will grow lush and soft
with the sun warm on our horses’ withers.

It isn’t enough to celebrate the defeat of winter
by blooming where we are planted;
may we be forever past changing
by never withering again.

skagitflats516
During this Lenten season, I will be drawing inspiration from the new devotional collection edited by Sarah Arthur —Between Midnight and Dawn

Between Midnight and Dawn: The Unseen Seen

sunrise410143

sunrise10915

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthinians 4: 18

 

I believe I will never quite know.
Though I play at the edges of knowing,
truly I know
our part is not knowing,
but looking, and touching, and loving,
which is the way I walked on,
softly,
through the pale-pink morning light.
~Mary Oliver from Bone

 

It is in the early morning hour that the unseen is seen,
and that the far-off beauty and glory,
vanquishing all their vagueness,
move down upon us till they stand
clear as crystal close over against the soul.

~Sarah Smiley

***************************

 

In the moments before dawn
when glow gently pink-tints
the inside of horizon’s eyelids,
the black of midnight
waxes to mere shadow:

that old faded midnight
That frightened but an hour. (from Emily Dickinson)

Gloaming dusk
fades into gleaming dawn,
a backlit silhouette stark
as the darkening earth
slowly opens her eyes
to greet in rebirth
a new and glorious morn.

 

sunrise222151

sunrise222153

During this Lenten season, I will be drawing inspiration from the new devotional collection edited by Sarah Arthur —Between Midnight and Dawn

Between Midnight and Dawn: Awaking

moon221163

sunrise22616

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:9-11

I Woke: —
Night, lingering, poured upon the world
Of drowsy hill and wood and lake
Her moon-song,
And the breeze accompanied with hushed fingers
On the birches.

Gently the dawn held out to me
A golden handful of bird’s-notes.
~Lenora Speyer “The Gift”

 

pansyface

1. Whence is the goodly fragrance flowing,
Stealing our senses all away,
never the like did come a-blowing,
Shepherds, in flow’ry fields of May,
Whence is that goodly fragrance flowing,
Stealing our senses all away.

2. What is that light so brilliant,
breaking Here in the night across our eyes.
Never so bright, the day-star waking,
Started to climb the morning skies!
What is that light so brilliant, breaking,
Here in the night across our eyes.
~Traditional French Carol

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
~Be Thou My Vision, first stanza

************************************

Stealing our senses all away.
Overwhelmed by the golden notes of songs, even if uttered only by birds.
A brightest light breaks apart the darkest night.
The brilliance climbing the morning skies.

This is what it is like for us:  our best thought.
Our Day-Star, Lord of our hearts,
awakens from the deepest of sleeps
and we, our senses stolen by glory,  are overjoyed.

 

wwubirch

hellebore216

During this Lenten season, I will be drawing inspiration from the new devotional collection edited by Sarah Arthur —Between Midnight and Dawn

Between Midnight and Dawn: A Handful of Dust

shadowself

dandyshadow2

By the sweat of your face You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.
Genesis 3:19

 

I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
~T.S. Eliot in “Burial of the Dead” from “The Wasteland”

This shadowland we live in is not all there is nor will ever be.We are tangible — dust arising from the ground and settling back into it when the soil reclaims us.

We do not want to think of ourselves as dust.  There is too much of us living right now; we cast shadows before and behind us depending on the time of day and time of life.  We are substance: our shadows are only ephemeral reflections of our presence on earth.

Yet the dust we were and the dust we become is a fearsome thing.Nothing but dust…until the Creator lifts us up in the palm of His hand, and blows on us. Now we breathe and pulse and weep and bleed.

We become something other than mere shadow. There need be no fear moving beyond shadow to the light that created it.

Morning, as always, sets fire to our doubt.

We become His as He breaths into us, awed, to the last grain of fearful dust with which we are made.  We become so much more.

So much more.

seedshoe

morning22916

moonrise2

 

During this Lenten season, I will be drawing inspiration from the new devotional collection edited by Sarah Arthur —Between Midnight and Dawn

Between Midnight and Dawn: Heaven in the Ordinary

willow1

willow5

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Colossians 4:2

 

Prayer the Churches banquet, Angels age,
Gods breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav’n and earth;

Engine against th’ Almightie, sinner’s towre,
Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six daies world-transposing in an houre,
A kinde of tune, which all things heare and fear ;

Softnesse, and peace, and joy, and love, and blisse,
Exalted Manna, gladnesse of the best,
Heaven in ordinarie, man well drest,
The milkie way, the bird of Paradise,

Church-bels beyond the stars heard, the souls bloud,
The land of spices, something understood.
~George Herbert “Prayer”

****************************

Considering the distance between us and God,
seemingly insurmountable to overcome,
how amazing it only takes a few words to Him,
our pleas and praise,
our breath in His ear
and unhesitating
He plummets to us;
we are lifted to Him.
Heaven dwells in the ordinary,
in our plainness,
dresses us up, prepared to be understood
by no less than our Creator.

willow11

 

willow7

 

During this Lenten season, I will be drawing inspiration from the new devotional collection edited by Sarah Arthur —Between Midnight and Dawn

Between Midnight and Dawn: The Spirit Soft

thistledowndrizzle

fog101944

 This is what the Lord says to me:
    “I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place,
like shimmering heat in the sunshine,
    like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”
Isaiah 4:18

 

When all nature is at rest, not a leaf moving, then at evening the dew comes down — no eye to see the pearly drops descending, no ear to hear them falling on the verdant grass — so does the Spirit come to you who believe. When the heart is at rest in Jesus — unseen, unheard by the world — the Spirit comes, and softly fills the believing soul, quickening all, renewing all within.
~Robert Murray McCheyne

 ******************************

Amid the hubbub and chaos of modern life, there comes a time when I must quiet myself, voided of selfish desires, hushing harried pointless ambitions. I seek rest and renewal within a freshening of purpose.

When I am thus silent and still, receptive, emptied of self, I am ready.

It is then I am touched, filled oh so softly, without fireworks or thunderclap, or dramatic collapse. As the Spirit descends like silent dew onto my longing heart, I wake restored, a new life quickened within me.

It is that simple. So gentle.

 

dandy910151

dandy910158