Welcome Spring! Emergent crocuses, aconite announcements all point the way to warmer days. We are thawing out, spring snows are short lived! The sun warms up the car seats despite unwelcome flurries out the window. Strength bursts through a pile of rotten leaves in the form of etiolated shoots, greening-up with only a day or two of light. My father used to say, “Everything is greening-up,” as he admired the blade-by-blade shift from dead brown to summer’s rich carpet. We are submitted to the power of the seasons and despite our constant complaints, “What happened to spring? We went straight to summer,” this is the time of year when we are forced to see and seek change. No matter how busy our hectic lives, the green leaves come. Buds swell. Last fall’s stubborn hangers-on are pushed off at the tips and blown away.
With chilly days followed by 89 degree blasts we are pushed and pulled in the arms of unreliable Spring. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and our daughter’s wedding in July feels the same. We are praying for peace, for refugees and their safety in fleeing their homes while also praying for perfect weather for an outdoor wedding. The incongruous juxtaposition is painful, yet ubiquitous in this life. Wilfred Owen captures this feeling well in his war poem “Futility.”
Move him into the sun—
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields half-sown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.
Think how it wakes the seeds—
Woke once the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides
Full-nerved, still warm, too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
—O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth’s sleep at all?
Doesn’t that capture our futility? Death by a cold, windy blade and new life awakening in warm ground. Take a moment to feel the soft fur coat of the pussy willows, hound down the forsythia and pray for peace. In love and war, only He makes all things new.