And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward all." And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, "Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord has made known unto us." And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. Luke 2:8-16
It's melting now, but earlier in the week we got snow -- nearly a foot of it, making patterns on the trellis and putting a cap on the bird feeders. Frost festooned the garage windows and the temperature fell below John's lower limit for biking to work. I took him in, since I needed the car later in the day, and the sun rose just as I dropped him off. It lit up a gauzy layer of infinitesimal snow crystals in the air, creating rainbows. Or would that be snowbows? I went over to campus to find an open spot for a photo and discovered a rainbow between me and the Music Center. I didn't go in to check for leprechauns -- there were diamond-tipped golden stems right in front of me. Later I went for a walk in the sunshine, enjoying the colors in the midst of all the white and the traces of those who had been out before me.
From the Isaiah lectionary passage this week, with crocus photos from last spring that I prepared for Assembly's Advent retreat this morning:
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.
Isaiah 35: 1,2
With snow on the ground and frigid temperatures outside, I am enjoying the play of light and life indoors -- an early blooming Christmas cactus with blossoms in flight, green and burgundy begonia leaves with light-filled veins, a swan-like gourd eye-ing the remnants of Thanksgiving decor, the light-edged leaves of succulents, and a Carolina wren that somehow found its way into our screened back porch where it found a congenial perch. I propped the door open for it when I left to run errands and by the time I got back, it had found the way out.
Tuesday was a typical northern Indiana, transition-into-winter day, one that could make you gloomy just looking out the window. Warm though, with a forecast for below-freezing temperatures the rest of the week, so I found time to go out with my camera.
It took about half the walk, heading out from the house, to shed the writing project I had been working on. The scenery didn't help -- bare tree branches, gray skies, prairie plantings full of blackened, weedy stems. I didn't even bother pulling my camera out of my pocket.
When I got to the southwest corner of campus, a couple little rusty-capped sparrows flew up from the grasses to take refuge in nearby bushes. They caught my wandering attention. I listened to them sing and started looking more closely at the weeds and grasses nearby. I found silver and gold, and evidence that the birds had been enjoying the banquet spread out before them.
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"