Earth

Earth

Your wheat grew in the ground as did mine.
We have no experience without soil.
Background—our parents and their parents.
Home –ground—our feet on this earth.

Made from ground, sustained by ground,
we are soil. This is the first humility.
If we forget this, we forget that we are human
We are of the land. We are humus.

Gunilla Norris

becoming bread

the seasons of my spirit

Change and contingency, it turns out, are everywhere in nature;
she has no fixed goals, no unalterable pathways into the future,
no inflexible rules that she herself can’t bend or break at will.
She is more like us (or we are no more like her) than we ever imagined.
– Michael Pollan, Second Nature: A Garden’s Education

The seasons of earth reflect the seasons of our lives and even our spirit. A time of new growth both in Spring and in something new in our lives is always followed by Summer and for us, there is a time of happiness, joy and the feeling that the long days of sunshine will never end. But as Summer turns to Autumn, so too our long days of light gradually fade. As the daylight fades darkness settles in and the earth begins her annual Winter sleep.

But even in darkness, the earth is not truly sleeping. Some plants require dark and cold to bloom in the spring. Think about the bulbs planted in autumn – tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinth and narcissus – we enjoy their beautiful bright colors and heady fragrances all the more because they herald a season of new growth. Plants such as the poinsettia and Christmas cactus – often forced into blooming in the winter – need a certain amount of time in the darkness to shine their beauty for us. And even some bears give birth during hibernation and wake up to a suckling cub some months later when the world turns warm again.

What can I glean from this? That God in Her infinite Wisdom created this never-ending cycle of life for earth and has mirrored it in my own soul. After a time of great joy and peace there will be a time of growth. That growth, or change in my life, will bring with it the darkness of pain, sadness and struggle.

During the long dark it will seem that God has abandoned me and has left me to muddle my way through. But I would do well to remember this quote:

“The truth is, though, there are times when the Lord allows His people to walk in the dark. He knows exactly where they are at every moment along the way; He never abandons or loses track of His children.” Jack Hayford, Pursuing the Will of God

It is a comforting thought during this time that while I feel utterly alone in my desperation, I am not, nor am I ever, alone. If I can hold on to that thought, that morsel of Truth, then I will be able to hold on until my Spring comes, as it inevitably will. For that is the cycle of nature and of my soul.

 

 

forced hyacinth, from The Marker Cafe’

 

settling down for a long winter’s nap

You are my sight and my discernment.
You are my knowledge and my dream.
You are my hunger and my thirst.
You are my sorrow and my joy.
You are my inadvertence and my wakefulness.
You are the beauty that lives in my eyes,
The longing in my heart, the everlasting life
In my soul.
You are “I,” Earth.
Had it not been for my being,
You would not have been.
– Kahlil Gibran, Earth

All around me the earth is settling down for her winter nap. The last of the leaves are falling, a few squirrels here and there still gathering acorns to put away for the cold and barren days to come. When I take the time to actually stop and think about it, the cycle of nature is awe-inspiring.

To some folks it may just be the result of the northern hemisphere tilting away from the light during the long orbit the earth takes around the sun. And in response to the temperature dropping tree sap runs from the branches down into the roots for self-preservation which in turn produces a kaleidoscope of reds, oranges and yellows before turning brown and dropping to the earth. The animals, sensing the colder temperatures, grow their winter coats without thinking and gather the food or fat or whatever they need for the cold and dark months before spring.

As human beings we think we are so smart. All of the cyclical changes in Nature can be explained by science. Even the long-term effects we are having on our earthly home is explained by science. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the search for truth in medicine or physics or whatever. But there is something wrong when science takes away the beauty and majesty of Nature and strips her of her Spirit.

Is it really necessary to separate science and Spirit? Why can’t they both work in concert, side-by-side? Believing in God doesn’t mean I can’t believe in science. Believing in God doesn’t mean I stop taking the medicine my body needs to function on a daily basis. I thank God for the men and women who discovered the medicine for without it I would die.

If anything, I am more awestruck by the power and majesty of God when science does explain how the world works or how my body works. For me it is just further proof that there is a God.

For the skeptics out in the world – stay skeptical! Keep asking questions, keep attempting to disprove the existence of a Higher Being. Without you, most of the world would be sheep, willing to follow whatever enchanting shepherd comes their way.

For the believers, trust that the God we love and worship is big enough to handle whatever skeptics and scientists throw His way and that ultimately it is up to God to prove Her existence to the world, or to the individual.

Thank you, God for this annual display of autumnal beauty and thank you for the cold silence of the coming winter.

 

 

Frosty Morn by Peter Breene