There is so much going on in the news that it is easy to be overwhelmed. Every day, it can seems, there is a whirlwind out of Washington, another school massacre, violence erupting in some part of the world, children dying of starvation, a ever more chaotic and unpredictable climate. It is enough to drive one to turn off the television, radio, and internet. To put one’s phone away, to escape the drumbeat of emails calling for action. The chaos around us can sometimes blind us to the beauty and marvel of what is going on around us in this part of Earth. The crocuses, the Lenten roses, the green shoots of daffodils!
Yes, amazing as it is, on February 17th, with admittedly strange weather patterns of unseasonable warmth and cold, we see Mother Nature beginning her annual upheaval from the “death” of winter to the cacophony of color and sound that is springtime. It begins with the crocus, that beautifully tender but powerful plant, that pushes its way through the hard crust of winter, seeking the ever increasing warmth of the late winter sun. The Lenten roses are also initiating their transformation from exhaustion to gentle, but intoxicating, new life. And the daffodils, the true harbingers of spring, the yellow and white ladies that dance in the breeze, announcing a new “day” of life and light and promise. In these days, it is their green trunks that slice their way through the crust of winter, announcing themselves and their future delights. It is an annual shot in the arm for us as we face the last few weeks of cold and darkness; it is a delightful gift for our weary souls, beset with worry and concern at the pain and suffering that enfold us in these difficult times.
But spring is on the horizon! The crocuses, Lenten roses, and green wrapped daffodils announce it, the good news! How wonderful for us Christians that the seasons of Lent and Easter coincide in our northern hemisphere with the re-birth of Mother Nature. Once again, resurrection manifests itself in these gentle but resilient, robust but tender, harbingers of warmth, and light, and life, and nourishment. The sun calls them forth from their “graves” in an echo of Jesus’ call to Lazarus. May we each hear the call, to come forth, and be agents of beauty and love and inspiration in a world that so clearly needs all three.
We can each be agents of new life in the places where we live and move and have our being. And we can encourage each other in our efforts, whether it be to work for common sense gun control, making sure all children have enough to eat, insuring that our air, water and soil continue to be healthy. Whatever it is that you do, remember you are not alone, and that even when it is difficult and challenging, remember that crocus, with its tender shoots reaching for the sun through the hard packed soil, and some ice and snow(!), that all things are possible with God! Every spring is a reminder that life finds a way! It always does!
Mark Doorley, Ph.D.
Board of Trustees
Center for Environmental Transformation