The Winter is Past
“See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.”
Song of songs 2.11-12
About ten years ago we spent time as a staff team planting out snowdrop bulbs in clumps of 4-5 in the shelter belt where there were none. Now they shine brightly and have multiplied throughout the area.
The early spring flowers are so full of intense colour. It’s in stark contrast to the bleak looking earth and drab colour of grass at this time, a show of life after death. I notice how fragile these early blooms seem to be : snowdrops, aconites, crocuses, scilla, hellebores all have paper thin petals and delicate stalks. Yet they withstand the immense pressure of snow and cold and push up through hard soil. This year the snow drops around the Bield have particularly long stems as they have stubbornly had to push their way to the light through layers of snow as well as soil. The French word for these lovely flowers is “perce-neige”, pierce-the-snow which they have indeed done this year. Our word, “snowdrop”, indicates the shape and direction of the bloom.
The flowers’ seeming fragility and yet
huge resilience make me reflect on how differently human beings respond to life’s sad and tragic events. In Jesus’ life and death we also see that mix of total vulnerability and enduring strength and the bursting forth of new life that won’t and can’t be held back. The response to sunlight especially of crocuses is extraordinary – they open up so willingly to reveal their brilliant inner centre.
I invite you to spend some time over these next few weeks being inspired by spring’s flowering, perhaps sitting with a crocus and wondering what you can learn from its fragility, colouring, strength. How does God speak to you through this beautiful creation?
I gather to myself this day,
The care of nesting bird with grass in beak,
The playfulness of boxing hare,
the encased promise of bud on tree,
The gladness of blossom as it bursts free,
The hope of brightening sun after grey,
the mystery of moon that sanctifies by night,
The balance of equinox within and without
the joy of dawn chorus that wakens with light
The freshness of scent on shrub and bough,
The fecundity of frogspawn, in stream and pond,
The confidence of daffodils jubilant abound,
The wind of your Spirit blowing over the hills.
The trust in your providence that creates and renews,
I gather to myself this day.
From’ the Celtic Wheel of the Year’ by Tessa Ward