For the night followed by the day
for the idle winter ground
followed by the energy of spring
for the infolding of the earth
followed by bursts of unfolding
thanks be to you, O God.
from Saturday Morning Prayer, in Celtic Benediction
by J. Phillip Newell
Spring keeps dancing on the threshold, teasing us with a day of sun and warm temperatures, followed by gray, windy days and frost. But she can't hide completely. There are hints of new life everywhere.
This morning I smelled the sharp, green scent of newly cut grass, thanks to the first mowing on campus. We're in the greening time -- in a few days time, the grass has gone from a dormant huddled brown to a vibrant growing green. And a gauzy green is beginning to tint the gray-brown bushes.
So today I'm celebrating green, and Viriditas, indoors and out.
From Mary Sharratt, author of Illuminations, a novel about Hildegarde of Bingen, the medieval German Benedictine abbess, composer, theologian, visionary and naturalist:
A cornerstone of Hildegard's spirituality was Viriditas, or greening power, her revelation of the animating life force manifest in the natural world that infuses all creation with moisture and vitality. To her, the divine was manifest in every leaf and blade of grass. Just as a ray of sunlight is the sun, Hildegard believed that a flower or a stone was God, though not the whole of God. Creation revealed the face of the invisible creator. Hildegard celebrated the sacred in nature, something highly relevant for us in this age of climate change and the destruction of natural habitats.
The Elkhart Truth editorial cartoon this morning showed an outlined paint-by-number April landscape of two glum-looking people walking their dog. The color key read: 1. Gray, 2. Gray, 3. Gray, 4. Gray, 5. Gray, 6. Gray.
April indeed. But April showers also bring April flowers. The daffodils and Siberian iris are bright spots of color, even when covered with raindrops. The bridal wreath spirea is a tangle of bare branches with tiny buds of green and a king's ransom of raindrop gems. And a pair of house-hunting ducks came wandering through the back yard, perfectly content with the weather.
The violets under my front step are blooming and fragrant, and there is a violet carpet under the bushes nearby. The mini-daffodils, barely four inches tall, have opened, and the taller daffodils are on the verge of it. Our forsythia hasn't quite burst out yet, nor the flowering quince, but they are both brimming with potential. And all along the canal yesterday, John and I spotted pairs of mallards, some scouting good nesting sites and others checking out the fast food menu, bright orange feet splashing.
While there were still golden remnants from last fall in the Calendar Garden this week, spring is also tiptoeing in, with yellows and purples -- witch hazel tassels, a few timid windflowers, more crocus, and lots of excited bees. The saying "busy as a bee" must have come from someone watching spring bees at work -- a still photo doesn't begin to capture the energy.
At long last, some days with sunshine and warmer temperatures, so yesterday I headed down to the Calendar Garden to see what early spring looked like there.
It's an in-between time, with a lot of trimming and garden clean-up happening. The new is beginning to appear, like the hyacinth just starting to poke up through red-gold sedum. But there are still plenty of remnants -- leaves and river birch bark and dried hydrangea blossoms, lit by warm sunlight, stirring memories of last year's autumnal reds, golds and browns.
And, unexpectedly, a flock of goldfish brightening the pond -- and nary a frog or pollywog in sight.
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"