Monday, March 8, 2010

Low, How a (Lenten) Rose E'er Blooming

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.
Old English Carol

This has been an unseasonably cold winter with either constant flurries or enough snow to keep people hunkered in or our kids home from school–a lot. I realize it is all relative to what we were used to in the northeast but when there isn't sufficient salt or snow-clearing equipment to treat the roads, you realize how treacherous a few inches of packed snow-turned-ice can be on a back road. And after a few months of colder-than-usual temps for what are usually balmier winters, and snow upon snow, well, it gets old. Spring will never be so sweet. That said, I do love that we still have four seasons here and that the spring and summer are both longer in duration.

This week I've been taking advantage of the warming weather and have been hiking up our knob almost every day: sometimes with the family and always with the puppies and other fauna. Today I went alone to the top of the knob (remember all of those hay bale images last summer–where it looks like you will fall off of the Earth?) and lay down on the warming ground and just took it all in. The "merry little breezes"swirled about, sometimes gathering leaves up into the air. Remember those in Thornton Burgess' Old Mother West Wind stories? My grandmother shared those books with me and I thought of them today and Burgess' love of nature.

The earth is different in spring: it is warm and fecund, full of promise. The same ground is cooler and more fallow in the fall as the woods release the wet, dank smell of decay. The sun is lowering in the sky and by spring it is climbing higher again. SUN! What a glorious thing it is! I always enjoy the inward time of winter but welcome the sun again like some kind of crazed animal.

So I lay back on the ridge and breathed in the air around me, listening alertly to the few sounds around the knob (where we can see 365 degrees around), and drinking in the sunshine. The animals were playing and lying around or near me, too, and we just all seemed to be in the moment together. When I came down a bit later, I was struck that over an hour had passed. It's not that I had walked that far, all told, but that I had allowed myself to enjoy the space–and place–without interruption or attention to time.

The other day when we all walked together after school, Henry turned to his Dad and said, "We sure do have a nice farm here, Dadda." It made me happy to hear that. I am starting to send out new growth shoots here into the land but to our boys this has probably already become their homeplace. We don't have the dream farmhouse yet, we long ago left the mansion. Ultimately it's not about the four walls but who is within them. A friend of mine said the other day, "Home is always where the people I love are." Like the "home tree" in Avatar, we now connect with each other and with the world from our farm on a ridge in Kentucky. It's been the journey of a lifetime.

IMAGE: In our first winter here, two years ago, we discovered two colors of Lenten roses (helliobores) blooming on the north side of our doublewide. They start to emerge and blossom in late February.


Tipper said...

Wondeful post! There is something about these first days of spring that pull you out into the world and if you go-you're always rewarded!

Anonymous said...

I'm BACK! The daffodils are blooming, the snowdrops are finally almost past their prime (late this year due to the cold), the buds are about to burst open on the lilacs, the maples are red with buds, AND THE FROGS ARE SINGING (late, also). I am SO happy! I love spring and the springing forth of life. There are many little black calves romping in the field across from me and they are so funny and fun to watch.

Yosemite Cat House

Catherine said...

Yes, spring! How sweet! I think after this Kentucky winter we'll be all the more glad of it.

I heard peepers last week, too, and it just bubbles up the sap in me to hear them. And daffodils!

And soon the red bud and the flowering trees and those marvelous woodland wildflowers. An Appalachian Spring is the most beautiful thing to behold--and unlike New England, the season actually lasts a few months here, vs. 2 weeks up there!

Glad you are back, Cat House lady, and always glad to hear from you, Tipper. [My husband was just down your way, after an awful detour into GA, to visit this Joseph C. Campbell Folk School.]

And Yosemite Cat lady, Tipper has a fine blog you might enjoy, too: BLIND PIG and the ACORN []which celebrates Appalachian life and culture. It is a wonderful blog.


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