Ne’er to be found again. ~Robert Herrick “To Daffodils”
So short a spring:
today some parts of this land are in the throes of winter with blizzards, ice storms and snow drifts keeping them home-bound on the Sabbath. There is little hope for the brave bulbs that tried to surface from the ground over the last several weeks.
Here in the northwest, we are springing late as well, with chill winds and unending rain. The daffodils have melted on the stem unable to sustain the battering while hordes of slugs luxuriate with unending voracious appetites for their petals.
We ourselves aren’t much different than these tender blooms – though we hope not to be chewed to death, we are, after all, here today, gone tomorrow. When bud bursts to blossom, we flame hearty with such exuberant joy, then wither until we are no more.
We are, for our brief days, a reflection of the Sun itself, just as we should be.
Let the rain kiss you Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops Let the rain sing you a lullaby The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk The rain makes running pools in the gutter The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night And I love the rain.
~Langston Hughes “April Rain Song”
Spring is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine… ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
Some days this time of year, the skies begin gray with indecision and it doesn’t rain nor does the sun ever shine — a truly lukewarm day. The days that are most interesting, however, are those that declare themselves “clear” or “soaking wet” and then switch somewhere in the middle in a stormy transition.
A day can start with pouring rain — no half-hearted drizzle, this — with no hope of clearing, no peek of blue sky, no mountains on the horizon as if covered in gray cotton wool.
Then in a mighty switch near sunset, a wind blows in and takes the gray away with a sweep of the hand. The skies clear, the mountains reappear with even more snow cover than the day before, and everything around shines with the glistening wash that has taken place.
It is spring, it is April, when all things are reborn wet and shimmering. Let the rain drench irresistible light.
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.
~Matthew 7: 24-27
Our house is built on sandstone, on a rise on the farm. It is strong and solid, warm and cozy. We don’t worry about rising waters from the perpetual rains this time of year.
But the barns are built on lower ground where the waters come in torrents down the hill in fierce storms and fill the floors and cause chaos. Add in the winter winds, and we worry about whether the structures and their inhabitants can survive another season.
The wise man who built the barns on solid rock knew there would be hard times on that low ground yet his buildings have remained standing for decades despite the storms and threats. We too stay standing on the Word, even when tossed to and fro, though stuck in the mud and muck of life.
May my eyes see, my ears hear, my heart understand. He prepares me with parable.
The day is cold, and dark, and dreary; It rains, and the wind is never weary; The vine still clings to the mouldering wall, But at every gust the dead leaves fall, And the day is dark and dreary.
My life is cold, and dark, and dreary; It rains, and the wind is never weary; My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past, But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast, And the days are dark and dreary.
Be still, sad heart! and cease repining; Behind the clouds is the sun still shining; Thy fate is the common fate of all, Into each life some rain must fall, Some days must be dark and dreary. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “The Rainy Day”
One thing I notice about raindrops
(in a lifetime of paying attention)
~each holds within an inner light carried to earth from the heavens~
from remembered Sun above the clouds.
The Sun is still up there somewhere
and I just was sprinkled with it.
Drenched in fact.
God empties himself into the earth like a cloud. God takes the substance, contours of a man, and keeps them, dying, rising, walking, and still walking wherever there is motion. Annie Dillard from “Feast Days” in Tickets for a Prayer Wheel
We soon will enter the season of Advent, an opportunity to reflect on a God who “takes the substance, contours of a man”, as He “empties himself into the earth like a cloud.” Like drought-stricken parched ground, we prepare to respond to the drenching of the Spirit, ready to spring up with growth anew.
He walked among us before His dying, and then rising up, He walked among us again, appearing where least expected, sharing a meal, burning our hearts within us, inviting us to touch and know Him.
His invitation remains open-ended.
I think of that every time the clouds open and empty. He freely falls to earth, soaking us completely, through and through and through.
They sing their dearest songs — He, she, all of them — yea, Treble and tenor and bass, And one to play; With the candles mooning each face…. Ah, no; the years O! How the sick leaves reel down in throngs!
They clear the creeping moss — Elders and juniors — aye, Making the pathways neat And the garden gay; And they build a shady seat…. Ah, no; the years, the years; See, the white storm-birds wing across!
They are blithely breakfasting all — Men and maidens — yea, Under the summer tree, With a glimpse of the bay, While pet fowl come to the knee…. Ah, no; the years O! And the rotten rose is ript from the wall.
They change to a high new house, He, she, all of them — aye, Clocks and carpets and chairs On the lawn all day, And brightest things that are theirs…. Ah, no; the years, the years; Down their carved names the rain-drop ploughs. ~Thomas Hardy “During Wind and Rain”
A waning November moon reluctantly rose, dimming from the full globe of the night before. I drive a darkening country road, white lines sweeping past, aware of advancing frost in the evening haze, anxious to return home to familiar warmth and light.
Nearing a county road corner, slowing to a stop, I glanced aside where
a lonely rural cemetery sits expectant. Through open iron gates and tenebrous headstones, there in the middle path, incongruous,
car’s headlights beamed bright. I puzzled, thinking:
lovers or vandals would seek inky cover of night. Instead, these lights focused on one soul alone, kneeling graveside,
a hand resting heavily on a stone, head bowed in prayer. This stark moment of solitary sorrow,
a visible grieving of a heart illuminated by twin beams.
This benediction of mourning
as light pierced the blackness; gentle fingertips traced
the engraved letters of a beloved name. Feeling touched
as uneasy witness, I pull away to drive deeper into the night,
struggling to see despite
my eyes’ thickening mist.
~Emily Gibson – “Grief Illuminated”