What is this grey? My morning’s window is a minor river, and the sun and sky are blanketed by a never-ending fleece. Late into the season, the trees still stand naked. Their fight to burst forth leaves has been in vain against the cold. A hundred-year chill.
Still they’ve stood trembling in the winds, budding defiantly. I think if they are forced to wait any longer, a mutiny will occur.
The rain comes down, and in the hour I’ve sat by the window, the world has changed. White poplar trunks are no longer quite so pale. Instead of the sallowness of winter dormancy, a faint hint of pale green tints them.
The grasses are dark gold, rich with autumn’s leftover colour and devoid of its lively variety. Grey road, dun world.
I wait a little longer.
Over in the corner of the yard, the tangle of chokecherry and willow is no longer a black scribble on a monochrome world. Red stems reach high like arms stretching to be lifted out of an underground prison.
All across the woods, leaf buds swell, bronzing the treetops. It’s that weekend. The one of resurrection.
What is this grey? Why is the sky weeping?
It’s just what happens at this time of year. Always has been and ever will be. Against this backdrop, the Paschal lamb and a dark night’s flight from slavery to promise. Against this New World thaw, the Roman occupation of the world that was, and the type of military efficiency that could invent a way to torture transgressors for days without requiring its soldiers to engage actively in the extended cruelty.
Crucifixion: An early example of automation, if you will.
Here stand the trees on the other side of the earth, raising fingers toward a sky that’s weeping. This week, of all weeks, spring finally shows herself.
She arrives at a rock wall with a hole hewn into it, expecting to find a decayed corpse well-flayed and left to rot. Death has happened and it’s done. Leaves have fallen. Cold has settled in. Limbs are icy. And it seems that it will stay this way forever and forever, all rumours to the contrary.
Instead, something has happened in the night. A sun’s ray of a soldier has removed the seal of death. Deep in the heart of the earth, a sudden breath is taken. The flaying and the icy cold are irradiated as the world tilts on its axis toward its source of light.
He has no remarkable appearance. Just a man. In the darkness, he unwraps the cloth from around his head, shakes it off, and leaves behind the bindings, neatly folded.
The seal is broken open.
She arrives, prepared to grieve what was and isn’t anymore. A promising and remarkable life, over. A disappointment to outlast all other heartbreaks.
Instead, she finds the Gardener.
Who else would be about so early in the morning dew? Just a man whose daily job is nurturing creation. Through tears she looks at him and past him, still looking for scars and wounds and the first signs of decay. He stands there, upright and with his dignity evident and unassailable, while she’s still expecting defiled nakedness.
She comes looking for an ending. And it is.
Winter always ends.
Deep in the woods on the other side of the world, the snow still lies thick and sodden. Last year’s foliage is crumpled on the ground like discarded newspaper. It has seemed that the resurrection forgot us this year.
The life I lived for the last decade and a half is over — in a way. Re-beginning, in another. It’s just so late. And I wonder if those years were wasted. Sometimes it feels like the biggest mistake I could have made.
But whether they were wasted or not, things are starting over. Always something new to try, something else to learn, some other wonder to see.
Even death won’t change that. This world struggles against itself, tearing down edifices and doing battle over great achievements. What about that other world, when this one’s strife and disappointment melt away?
A greening that will be.
There is no heaven with a little of hell in it.