Sunday, March 19, 2006

longing for the spring

It's almost the first day of spring and I'm incredibly ready for it to be here. I pulled my bike out again for the first time since fall the other day--I was so excited! Here in New Jersey it's dry and still kind of cold, sunny but still brown and dead-looking. It's much different from what I'm used to in Oregon, where it's gray and rainy about now, but the grass is green and leaves are probably already coming on, and the evergreens are of course still green. In Oregon I wouldn't be riding a bike yet, but I also wouldn't still feel like everything's dead--there would be early spring flowers and leaves everywhere (although they may have died last week with their freak snow storm!).

I have seen a few flowers here already, though! On the bike path there was a strip of daffodils and I stopped and picked some to bring home, and already it feels more like spring. But I was riding my bike to meeting today past three fields of brown stubble with trees brown and barren and wondering if spring is ever going to get here.

There's something incredible about the waiting, though, and I've been trying to enjoy the anticipation and longing, and seeing what it has to teach me. It's a ruminating time, a time of seeming dormancy, a calm before the explosion of new life that will soon come. I notice myself waiting and longing with an aching sense of desire for regeneration in myself, not just in the landscape.

I'm not sure why the year begins on January 1--I think it should begin with spring, because that's when things really become new. I'm much more interested in New Year's resolutions now, and I might actually keep them for a while--like getting exercise, because I can ride a bike!

I never used to really appreciate the seasons much, just kind of experienced them as they came. But now I notice them (maybe because there are actually four seasons here), and the rhythm of the seasons reminds me of the embodied person that I am, who needs change, new life, death, times of waiting, times of energy, harvest and planting and fallowness.

In Hebrew we translated Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 the other day (which was nice because it's very repetetive so it wasn't very hard!), and it reminded me of these seasons and the patient cycle of it all. So here's Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (Cherice's version) to meditate on as we await the spring.

For everything there is an appointed time, and a season for each pleasure:
a season for bearing, and a season for dying;
a season for planting, and a season for uprooting plants;
a season for killing, and a season for healing;
a season for breaking down, and a season for building up;
a season for weeping, and a season for laughing;
a season for lamenting, and a season for skipping joyfully;
a season for casting stones, and a season for gathering stones together;
a season for embracing, and a season for being distant from embracing;
a season for seeking, and a season for losing;
a season for keeping, and a season for throwing away;
a season for rending, and a season for sewing together;
a season for being silent, and a season for speaking;
a season for love, and a season for hate;
a season for battle, and a season for peace.


Lovin' Life Liz said...

I love daffodils!! Here in KS we are getting a lot of rain and possibly snow tommorow :( This is after several weeks of mild winter. I love that verse, and I really enjoyed that translation of it. Its always intresting to see straight literal translations instead of modern interpretations!

Charlie Chocco said...

I enjoyed your translation of that passage. Let's hope the season for hate is over soon. Australia is leaving summer, and getting colder. A cyclone called Larry has just wiped out huge areas of sugar and banana crops in Queensland.
Your blog from a few days ago triggered the image in my mind of earth as a distant mirror that God made which has been broken, and all of the church, now shards, he is trying to glue back together.

Paul said...

This morning as I walked through the backyard and past the different gardens, I saw lilacs just starting to send out their blossoms. They should be here in a week or two. There were daffodils that are in full bloom, but many already dying. The raspberries are sending up new shoots.

The Ecclesiastes passage is a wonderful passage. I find it very helpful for discernment purposes. Knowing what season I’m in helps me make wise decisions. Hmmmm…think I won’t plant these seeds in December. No brainer. Lots of decisions become much easier when I know…and am willing to be truthful about what season it is. Your thoughts also reminded me of when I understand the Jews believe the day to begin…in the evening. New life can begin when I’m sleeping…because God’s at work. When I wake up, I join God in what God is already doing. What looks like new life to me is a work in progress to God.



cherice said...

Liz--I love daffodils too! They're one of my favorite flowers, because they always bring me hope that spring is on its way. Today was the first day I noticed blooms coming out on the trees! Monday I noticed there were none, but now they're everywhere. It's amazing how they can just appear like that. I hope spring is coming where you are, too.

Charlie--I hope you're doing alright in this hurricane season! I heard another one's heading your way. Your comments on the other posting are similar to another comment posted there--you should check it out. And yes, hopefully we don't have to live through much more of a season of hate.

Paul--you're making me miss Oregon! That's such a great thought about the fact that new life can begin even in our sleep. It's like a season of dormancy every day, where God can work to bring out new buds and flowers apparently out of nowhere, even though they've been developing in the stillness of the night.