Don’t let these warm days fool you.
Do you not see that the sycamores
have given their all? That the gold
of the maples has fallen? In the woods
the squirrels are busily burying nuts
and growing thick fur. Treat this
spell of comfort as a grace, given
you to gather memories of color
and mild air, of flowing waters
where leaves float like boats
and ducks paddle freely
through a still-liquid world.
Take it as a kindness, given
by the Yes, as a treasure for you
to hold in your heart to warm
you when the winds blow cold.
The gifts are free for the taking.
They’re inexhaustible and everywhere.
Every moment holds them, especially
the one we call Now. It’s a willingness
to see them that makes them happen.
Wake in the morning with a vow
to receive the gifts your soul most needs–
beauty, kindness, forgiveness, grace–
and let it be your soul that decides,
and may your heart swell in humble joy
when you discover that the gifts
you most truly desire are here before you,
and free for the taking.
Regardless of how things may seem,
regardless of confusion, conflict and pain,
always there is that which is pure
and simple and singing with joy,
that which gives balance
and the assurance of grace.
Go about your day, then, with gladness.
These blossoms are reminders
that you are dearly loved.
Regardless of the world’s confusion,
its violence and evil and pain,
on this clear May morning lilacs blossom
and swallowtails, newly emerged
from their dark cocoons, flit in dizzy joy
to sip the nectar.
Here is your reassurance, dear child.
Here is proof of life’s renewal.
Here is proof of grace.
As the second day of March dawned,
it was clear that the lion had not gone.
The roar with which he ushered in the month
was still rolling through the trees. His snow
piled on the ground beneath the maples.
And they, with their accustomed grace,
bore it on their branches as if were a gift,
and a treasured one at that. Jewels perhaps.
Or so it seemed as it shimmered
in the pale sun of this pastel morning.
But then, when you stand here, breathing
it all in – the limbs, the slopes, the light, the snow –
it comes to you that it’s all grace, every bit of it,
and that the lion is roaring Yes.
The spruce was meant to wear winter’s snow
as surely as the rose was meant to wear the summer’s dew.
Look how its branches raise up to accept the fall,
how its needles so gently hold the fragile powder.
And look how its form is graced by the gift
that it so humbly receives.
It’s almost like watching the rise and response
of a prayer of praise, a breath of love
between the Yes and its creation.
Along the creek, a clump of thistle stands. For all their spiky thorns they look feminine somehow, with their curled leaves arching upward as if to groom their faces or arrange their hair. Their purple flowers have long since gone, but not their grace.
As I gaze at them standing there, in the spotlight of the autumn sun, I imagine they could be a gaggle of young girls, readying to fly on stage in some ballet or to leap into the water for a choreographed swim.
I can almost hear them gossip, their high-pitched little giggles riding the colored leaf-boats all the way downstream.
When sweet May has gone, and time drifts into summer, may you recall the days when we breathed the scent of lilacs and were in love.
When the world brings on its cruelties, when innocence seems forever lost, may you remember May mornings when gentle rains fell on the just-opening lilacs and larks filled the air with song.
These are the days of grace, my love, when life bursts in radiant hues from a cold and frozen world. Tuck them in your heart and remember how life goes on and on.
What miracles are these, these gaudy bulbs, these bright trumpets dancing in the breeze, and laughing with joy? How did they rise so swiftly and sure from what, mere weeks ago, was frozen, lifeless ground?
What brought these songs and fragrances to fill the warm air? Who painted the world with all these hues? From what mind did they spring?
And who am I to receive such wondrous grace? And how is it that I can contain such unfathomable happiness inside my one, small being?
Not only the sun shines in summer’s flowers. She captures the milky white moon as well, and the blush of dawn, and the blood of beets. Her pallet knows no bounds. And how deft and sure her strokes as she paints each solitary bloom with patterns all its own.
Hers is an artistry of grace, bestowed infinite care, as if each creation would stand onto eternity.
She pays the passing of time no mind. It is to this moment that she gives her tenderness, to this one blossom, hidden where no one but birds and bees, except by chance, will see.