The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
In the dark I rest,
unready for the light which dawns
day after day,
eager to be shared.
Black silk, shelter me.
more of the night before I open
eyes and heart
to illumination. I must still
grow in the dark like a root
not ready, not ready at all.
There is a power here in the bowels of the earth,
a “deeper magic,” as C.S. Lewis called it.
Death is not given the final word.
Christ doesn’t need to turn east to greet the sunrise:
he is himself the Dawn by whose light we see light (Psalm 36:9).
The sun will not set again.
That was our last night.
~Sarah Arthur from Introduction to Between Midnight and Dawn
When we go through a string of February gray rainy days that begin and end in an all-encompassing and, in some ways, comforting darkness, I often feel “hunkered down.” I’m seeking shelter right now, surrounded like a root yet to sprout, needing time to ready myself for the power of the Light soon to come.
During this Lenten season, I will be drawing inspiration from the new devotional collection edited by Sarah Arthur —Between Midnight and Dawn
Sometimes when you’re in a dark place
you think you’ve been buried,
but actually you’ve been planted.
We don’t understand
while buried in the dark,
that we rest planted in holy ground,
waiting for the wakening
that calls us forth to bloom and fruit.
Today is one of those excellent January partly cloudies
in which light chooses an unexpected part of the landscape to trick out in gilt,
and then the shadow sweeps it away.
You know you’re alive.
You take huge steps,
trying to feel the planet’s roundness arc between your feet.
~Annie Dillard from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
After years of rarely paying attention,
too busy with whatever household or barnyard task needed doing,
I realized there are only a finite number of sunrises and sunsets left to me
and I don’t want to miss them, so now I stop, take a deep breath
and feel lucky to be alive, a witness to that moment.
Sometimes they are plain and gray
just as I am,
but there are days that are lit from above and beneath
with a fire that ignites across the sky.
I too am engulfed for a moment or two,
until sun or shadow sweeps me away,
transfixed and transformed, forever grateful for the light.
In the hope that 2016 will be filled with daily opportunities for a slow walk through moments of serene beauty~
blessings to you all from Barnstorming!
For more “Best of Barnstorming” photos:
Best of 2013
Seasons on the Farm:
BriarCroft in Summer, in Autumn, in Winter,
at Year’s End
The winter will be short, the summer long,
The autumn amber-hued, sunny and hot,
Tasting of cider and of scuppernong;
All seasons sweet, but autumn best of all.
The autumn frosts will lie upon the grass
Like bloom on grapes of purple-brown and gold.
The misted early mornings will be cold;
The little puddles will be roofed with glass.
The sun, which burns from copper into brass,
Melts these at noon, and makes the boys unfold
Their knitted mufflers; full as they can hold
Fat pockets dribble chestnuts as they pass.
~Elinor Wylie from “Wild Peaches”
Amber stretches from sky to ground.
The clouds key-holed in the chill
and below, the leaves suffer their own keyholes
as they slowly melt away.
I’m feeling holey myself,
punched and transparent,
pondering where holiness is found
when life wholly shows its holes.
I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
stand shadowless like silence,
listening to silence, for no lonely bird would sing
Into his hollow ear from woods forlorn,
Nor lowly hedge nor solitary thorn;—
Shaking his languid locks all dewy bright
With tangled gossamer that fell by night,
Pearling his coronet of golden corn.
But here the Autumn melancholy dwells,
And sighs her tearful spells
Amongst the sunless shadows of the plain.
Upon a mossy stone,
She sits and reckons up the dead and gone
With the last leaves for a love-rosary,
Whilst all the wither’d world looks drearily,
Like a dim picture of the drownèd past
In the hush’d mind’s mysterious far away,
Doubtful what ghostly thing will steal the last
Into that distance, gray upon the gray.
~Thomas Hood from “Autumn”
These cooling mornings are so silent~
no bird song
the dogs still asleep
no cows bellowing
only the sound of a horse
leaning heavy on a barn wall.
The gray on gray of this morning
interrupted by the painting of sky and leaf,
silence to the ear
is a symphony for the eye.
Bending above the spicy woods which blaze,
Arch skies so blue they flash, and hold the sun
Immeasurably far; the waters run
Too slow, so freighted are the river-ways
With gold of elms and birches from the maze
Of forests. Chestnuts, clicking one by one,
Escape from satin burs; her fringes done,
The gentian spreads them out in sunny days,
And, like late revelers at dawn, the chance
Of one sweet, mad, last hour, all things assail,
And conquering, flush and spin; while, to enhance
The spell, by sunset door, wrapped in a veil
Of red and purple mists, the summer, pale,
Steals back alone for one more song and dance.
~Helen Hunt Jackson “October”
Summer is stretching long this fall,
with warm temperatures both day and night,
grass growing like spring
bushes blooming confused six months off
sun rises lit by flame that lick the sky.
I am eager for one more song and dance,
one more sweet hour,
each dawn bringing renewed revelry.