Spring in the country

Daily Reading for April 26 • Saint Mark the Evangelist (transferred)

As a youngster I somehow convinced myself that the twenty-fifth was called “St. Mark’s Day” because it “marked” the last possible date for Easter—and because those in the ancient church were always fond of having fun with things like that. Years of living have not appreciably changed my suspicions, at least not about the church fathers, but they have changed my perception of what St. Mark’s marks. St. Mark’s Day means the final and irrefutable death of winter for yet another year.

The spring comes so quietly in the country—so without announcement—that I walk into it morning after morning without knowing until abruptly, on some perfectly ordinary day, I think, It’s warm! and realize that I have already been jacketless and easy in my kingdom for several such mornings. Faith is a bit like that, I suspect, quiet and without announcement till it, too, seeps into our clothing and our decisions and only at the last into our consciousness, till it, too, cuts us loose from chores and clothes and the awkwardness of ice underfoot.

My joy, of course, is in my freedom. The animals are with us again, or I am with them. The fence line no longer holds me separate. I move into their pastures, walking among them as they graze, or they join me in my ramblings down to the pond or off to the close. The world under our feet and about our faces and above our heads is alive again with bees and moths and butterflies and grasshoppers and dragonflies and ladybugs and a myriad of such lives. Their energy charms me, but it is their variety—more infinite than the stars—that beguiles me.

It would be so easy, walking these acres, sharing this space, to grow placid and fat of soul—to love these creatures and their haunts beyond their function and place. So beautiful they are to me that only a cross keeps me from the metaphor of pantheism. . . .

A cross, a Book, and an Other who, because of the two, lives so close now that I have lost our borders as well as our beginnings. And each Eastertide our conversation is laid aside more completely, more readily, than in the previous spring, while what has been in history and what is always being in nature blend into that sureness of resurrection that contains both.

From “Through the Veil Torn” in Wisdom in the Waiting: Spring’s Sacred Days by Phyllis Tickle, in her series “Stories from The Farm In Lucy” (Chicago: Loyola Press, 2004).

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