As this season of Winter draws to a close and we wait for the coming Spring, we are faced with the challenge of staying in the present moment yet looking with hope and seeing the signs of what is to come. Finding signs of life amidst the winter snow. The beauty of the here and now.
Snowdrops are indicators of the forthcoming change in season – a sign that Spring is on its way. There is certainly a tenacity with this little flower, pushing its way through the hard, cold, frost-bitten soil. The feast day of St Brigid is celebrated on 1st February, which in the Celtic calendar marks the very beginning of Springtime. Brigid is known for her hospitality and generosity, her healings and her connection with animals. Snowdrops, the first flowers of Spring, are one of her symbols.
“All that is hidden, all that is plain, I have come to know, instructed by Wisdom who designed them all. For within her is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, active, incisive, unsullied, lucid, invulnerable, benevolent, sharp, irresistible, beneficent, loving to man, steadfast, dependable, unperturbed, almighty, all-surveying, penetrating all intelligent, pure and most subtle spirits; for Wisdom is quicker to move than any motion; she is so pure, she pervades and permeates all things. She is a reflection of the eternal light, untarnished mirror of God’s active power, image of his goodness.” - (The Wisdom of Solomon 7:21-24, 26-27)
Snows of Winter and the flowering of Spring… a visual paradox! The Franciscan contemplative writer, Richard Rohr believes that wisdom arises from living with paradox. ‘Untarnished mirrors’ as the Book of Wisdom says, receive the whole picture, which always includes the darkness, the light, and subtle shadings of light that make shape, form, colour, and texture beautiful. He encourages us to accept paradoxes, or we will never love anything or see it correctly. Reality is paradoxical, a clash of a mixture of good and bad, light and dark, living and dying.
How then might we enter more deeply into the paradox of this threshold time … the transition space between the seasons… an in-between time where both are in evidence – the chill of winter snow and the blossoming of snowdrops, the first flowers of Spring?
I hope this image of the snowdrop encourages you to look at ‘the real’… to hold and notice what draws you, in this in-between time.
Are you called to stay with what is now, or is there a movement of hope for things yet unseen? Do you feel a need to stay with the gifts of winter- for indeed there is life even in the frozen ground? Or are you drawn to the light and warmth that the new season will bring? Maybe the challenge is to hold the tension, the paradox of both… to remain in the in-between, for now.
May undiscovered riches and fresh insights be yours.
Source: (Rohr, Richard. Contemplative Action Center, 2024)