Tis May; and yet the March flower Dandelion Is still in bloom among the emerald grass, Shining like guineas with the sun’s warm eye on– We almost think they are gold as we pass, Or fallen stars in a green sea of grass. They shine in fields, or waste grounds near the town. They closed like painter’s brush when even was. At length they turn to nothing else but down, While the rude winds blow off each shadowy crown.
In the meadow-grass
The innocent white daisies blow,
The dandelion plume doth pass
Vaguely to and fro, –
The unquiet spirit of a flower That hath too brief an hour. ~Ellen Mackay Hutchinson Cortissoz
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. 1Peter 1:24-25
Like a seed released when buffeted,
or simply blown aloft at the moment of ripeness,
may we be the unquiet flower spirit
carrying your Word on fragile wings
to far corners and hidden places;
settling softly, taking root
wherever your breath takes us.
This dandelion has long ago surrendered its golden petals, and has reached its crowning stage of dying – the delicate seed-globe must break up now – it gives and gives till it has nothing left.
The hour of this new dying is clearly defined to the dandelion globe: it is marked by detachment. There is no sense of wrenching: it stands ready, holding up its little life, not knowing when or where or how the wind that bloweth where it listeth may carry it away. It holds itself no longer for its own keeping, only as something to be given; a breath does the rest…
~Lillias Trotter from “Parables of the Cross”
Might I ever stand “ready” as a field of dandelions in full-puff, seeds preparing to detach in response to a breeze or a breath?
This readiness feels very much like the peak of labor in childbirth, a moment that feels as if time has stopped – the inevitability that one can never go back to the way things were. This “crowning” of the new life as it emerges means the surrender of the old life and its resultant emptying.
May I turn my head full on to the breeze, giving and giving until I have nothing left.
Only then, only then, is there a moment of detachment that leads me to eternity.
April is like the raggedy, wandering gypsy lad of the fairy tale. When he moves, streaks of gold show beneath his torn garments and you suspect that this elfin creature is actually a prince in disguise.
April is just that.
There are raggedy, cold days, dark black ones, but all through the month for a second, for an hour, or for three days at a stretch you glimpse pure gold.
The weeks pass and the rags slip away, a shred at a time. Toward the end of the month his royal highness stands before you. ~Jean Hersey from The Shape of a Year
I avoid mirrors now as I age, knowing I’m clothed in rags, thinning here, thickening there, sagging and stretching, wrinkled and patched up.
Still, if I look closely past the rags and sags, I see the same eyes as my nine year old self peering back at me.
The lightness of youth and freshness may be disguised, but it is still there.
Every once in awhile, I glimpse pure gypsy gold.
I awoke in the Midsummer not to call night, in the white and the walk of the morning: The moon, dwindled and thinned to the fringe of a finger-nail held to the candle, Or paring of paradisaïcal fruit…
A cusp still clasped him, a fluke yet fanged him, entangled him, not quit utterly. This was the prized, the desirable sight, unsought, presented so easily, Parted me leaf and leaf, divided me, eyelid and eyelid of slumber. ~Gerard Manley Hopkins “Moonrise”
I drowse too much through
the gifts offered up each day,
my eyelids closed
to the slightest seed release
or how the light plays
on the edge of shadow.
I sleep when
the curtain parts to
reveal the moment
when heaven visits earth.
My head nods
and I miss it.
it reels in the wind. ~Luci Shaw from “Flower Head”
I often awake with my mind as askew as my hair,
brushing away the cobwebs of dreams,
smoothing down worries ever present,
curling the whiff of memories long forgotten.
And I realize these same molecules transmitting thoughts
also carried Christ’s while He walked this earth,
the earthbound thoughts of God Himself,
borne by integration of chemistry and ions,
in millions of electrical explosions per second.
The thistles, rooted out, throng in again; The single regal rose is mobbed by weeds; The plums, the pears, the ripening apples, rain In the sun; and past summer plants new seeds.
Here, or there, these common yearly things Repeat, repeat, and gardens do not range: Yet thistles, roses, fruit trees, birds, and stings Come to an end, and the church bells sound a change.
These many soft declensions of the day, So hard to take to heart, bear life away. ~Dunstan Thompson from “Passage”
This winding down,
this descent into
shorter days and longer nights,
this preparation for an autumn austerity,
reminds me of my ongoing emptying,
once so full of fruit and seed,
now clinging to what is left me~
the joys, the tears,
the eyes of my brimming heart.