Midwinter spring is its own season
Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown,
Suspended in time, between pole and tropic.
Little Gidding, T.S. Eliot
"Midwinter spring" seems like an appropriate label for these days, even though Eliot was writing about a warm midwinter in England, and ours is a spring that keeps slipping back to midwinter.
Several batches of balloons blew into our back yard one day when the sun was out and the snow had mostly melted and the calendar declared spring had arrived. So I tied them on the birdfeeder in celebration of spring. The photo above was what they looked like the next day, March 21.
Below there is a slideshow of the corner of our front flower bed where the snowdrop bulbs are planted. I took these about every two days between March 3 and 18, eagerly watching for the snowdrops as the snow came and went. And came and went. And came and went. Even with the sempiternal snow, the snowdrops lived up to their name! (If you receive this as an email, you may need to go to the actual website to see the slideshow. The cycle ends with a photo of snowdrops with white blooms).
For the past few weeks I have been busy with the final stages of helping edit a collection of essays on Assembly Mennonite's history, too busy to get to my blog. With a warmer week, our snow is melting fast, so it is time to post these before they are completely out of date. Snow and shadows and such.
Check out the avian snow angel on the lower right in the photo above. A telephoto lens would have been handy, but I did what I could before the shadow covered it entirely.
And below, the date on the paper is January 25. I found it this past Saturday, March 15, on the front lawn, after the massive pile up of snow it had been in for the past several weeks melted -- still in its plastic bag and quite readable. I thought it was an appropriate headline. We broke the previous record of 100 inches of snow back before the most recent six inch snow dump.
For a Lenten practice this year, I’ve decided to do nothing.
That’s a little misleading. In order to nothing, I’ll first enter my prayer room, wrap myself in a prayer shawl, and sit in a favorite chair. But then I will simply wait, allowing myself to do nothing for fifteen or twenty minutes. I will not journal or do lectio divina or pray the psalms or do centering prayer or read one of the interesting books on my shelf, good as all those are. I will simply make space, watch and wait.
I imagine it will be a bit like when I head out on a camera walk. For the first ten or fifteen minutes, my mind chatters away. Then it gradually stills, and I can see what is around me, and receive the gifts of the day.
Or perhaps it will be like this story from The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, by Sister Benedicta Ward:
A brother came to Scetis to visit Abba Moses and asked him for a word. The old man said to him, "Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything."
Since the snow keeps on snowing, and I'm not getting out for camera walks, I will go into my cell and see what comes.
Today, it is the memory of a pebbly stream catching the light in a Japanese garden, and a sunflower full of bright summer sunshine, and a porch dusted with January snowfall.
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"