So unexpected. So wondrous.
I will hold these images, the smell of the awakened earth, the feel of the lilac leaf against my face as I raked the rotten leaves of last year out from around the overgrown roots. This. This. This.
This Holy Week.
I gather the rocks strewn about. Flat sandstone kind of rocks liberated from a hill close by, by a gardener who worked here before me. All their work of wild flowers and directing surface run-off to a pond and and other naturalistic features were trashed by the testosterone filled zombie in an earth moving machine who leveled the yard during construction. These rocks might be trash to any one else. I give them new use. I make a patio in the back. I make the square cement slab in to a circle. Of sorts. Not really. I will grow creeping oregano or something like that, between the stones.
One of the rocks I moved must have weighed a hundred pounds or more. I spent much of the afternoon shoving it across the yard. Hoping. And I would stop and rest and look around. Taking the flat stretch of mud and clay and transforming it in my mind's eye.
I see it. In my mind's eye. Where I will put the pond. A sort of pond. A basin really, to catch the runoff from the hill behind us. So that it doesn't flood the house or the yard. And there, the curly willow tree. And there, the silly narrow path in a "Z" up the hill to the level place behind the tree. From there, you can see the whole neighborhood. A little level place for two chairs. It will be as good as a tree fort. A grown up tree fort.
Joel and I built a tree fort --about forty years ago. In the hills of Sonoma at The Bishop's Ranch. Overlooking the vineyards and oaks of northern California. But, then, we could climb a tree, twenty feet up, building a platform that rested on the branches of the ancient and holy oak. We put no nails in to its flesh. We just rested the beams of the platform in its elbows. Even the ladder up to the platform was a series of resting spots in its own branches.
We were so much in love. Between the two us, neither of us had the courage to drive a nail. It was just that way. He the monk. Me the wildflower. Thinking if he didn't leave the monastery, perhaps I should go join a nunnery.
Look at us now. Still so much in love. Still chaste, poor and obedient. Still wild-ish. As wild as one can be looking 60 down the throat. And him at 70. It will be a path, a silly path, that is not too steep, that will take us to an earthen perch by a crook in a tree. And we will sit there, looking out, then glance at each other out of the corner of our eye. Knowing fully the thoughts of the other. Still shy about that.
And we will laugh. And then cry because we are laughing. And cry because we can't climb trees any more. And then laugh because I will have built us this perch. High up. On the hill. Behind a little house that has cost us everything.
I see it. In my mind's eye. With lilacs that I must work around. Salvaging lilies and rocks. As though lilies and rocks need salvaging.
I think it is Spring.
I know it is Holy Week.
When our sin is before us. Killing life and driving nails in to a holy tree.
Hoping. That the landscape of our lives will be transformed by moving a rock too great for us.
At prayer this morning (ending with Philippians 3:21)
...their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself.
Oh Paul. I am not so Greek that I think heaven is someplace else. His Body is here. Always erupting unexpectedly from the earth. Heaven is here. Alongside us. Among us. His Body is formed out of seed and sun and water and earth, crushed and thrown in to the fire to make bread. His Blood quickens in the vine, made of fruit. Made of this earth. Heaven is here.
Let us make it so. It is so.
(From John 12 --the gospel reading for the day)
Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also.