I wrote you a letter a few years ago about April. You really do Aprils beautifully. However, I do look forward to March. Cool. Windy. Brisk. A hint of spring and new life in the air and in the earth. Then followed by the balm and beauty of April in its whites and pinks and yellows and mint greens. Dressing up for Easter.
But, Lord, I’m a little confused. April came in March this year. It’s still lovely, but I missed my March. I’m not really complaining, Lord, I’m just saying out loud what you already know. Sometimes there’s just no pleasing people. But, I’ve put that behind me, as well as the allergies, and Mike and I took our coffee cups in hand and our tennis shoes on feet, and went for a walkabout. Before we even got off the porch, a red sun was peeping over the hills, ready to light our way. I had only taken a few steps and a few sips before I shoved my cuppa into Mike’s hand and dashed for the camera, praying the batteries weren’t dead. You came through for me.
We lost most of our dogwoods in a blight that hit our area back some time ago. But now we’re seeing a regeneration. The Princess tree is in full bloom, and our backyard path is strewn with lavender blossoms, as if some flower girl had taken a detour and skipped down it just to please us. How often do you show your love for us, Lord, and we miss it?
At the foot of the hill there are tulip poplars springing into leaf, not yet in their time of flowering. I’ll never forget how surprised we were that year we discovered these floral blooms, like something you’d see on a corsage, embedded amongst the leaves of this perfectly shaped tree. That’s when we understood why they were called “tulip poplars”.
Then a little toad hopped across our path. We had to stop and admire his bumpy beauty, too. “Oh, I love wildlife,” I intoned. Mike is used to my left-field intonations, but even he was taken aback by this – he who was weaned in south Georgia on squirrel hunting and varmint chasing. “Uh, a toad is not exactly what I would categorize as wildlife,” he said. Well, I thought to myself, if I admire it out in the grass, but not in the house, it’s wildlife. But sometimes I don’t blurt out what I’m thinking. Sometimes. Not often. Which gets me into heaps of trouble.
Then I just had to pick a dandelion. If the trees are dressed like Christmas springtime, then a little snow will not be amiss. Huh? However, I huffed and I puffed, but the dandelion released it’s feathery white very reluctantly. “It’s not ripe yet,” Mike observed, with his way of speaking the obvious. Okay, Lord, you made men to keep us humble, right? Good job.
Halfway up the hill, the ironwood tree is hung with catkins, like golden icicles from a springtime Christmas tree. In a few weeks, the pine trees will quit blooming and begin candle-ing, those straight spikes sticking up like candles on a Christmas tree. And, Lord, it’s all just there, decorated and ready for viewing without one effort on our part. And the apple tree blooms, with their cinnamon smell drifting up as the sun’s warmth teases it out into the air — truly the smell of a springtime Christmas. Are you reminding us that your gifts come at all times of the year?
That walk left me refreshed in mind and spirit, and I began to think about a Christmas carol. “God rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay. Remember, Christ the Savior was born on Christmas Day.” And 33 years later came the Cross and the Resurrection. Winter became spring, and death became life.
How can “thank you” ever be enough, Lord?