Rain foiled my intentions today to uproot winter from the yard. I’ve been avoiding the sad, forsaken planters and flower beds, once beautiful adornments now turned brown and brittle from the one-two punch of winter’s cold and my neglect. With the coming of warmer weather this past week, the kids have reclaimed the back yard, and dozens of red plastic cups litter the scene with secret botany experiments, “soups” I was told. Here and there between cups, the 4 and 5-year-old children proudly marked thirty-some of the dog’s land mines with bricks leftover from an addition project, an idea they thought quite imaginative. It’s as though, instead of spring, we are sprouting bricks. A collapsing, old Cozy Coupe is parked in front of the screened door, and “Nella” the scooter is parked haphazardly close so that you can’t open the door more than a few inches without hitting it. A bucket sits on the step with yet another soup that will spill its guts just as soon as someone decides to open the door and exit. Along the back fence, someone ran the Green Gator into the Cast Irons where it has idly collected leaves and pollen and more soups. I wonder how many mosquito larvae may be mixed in with this one, patiently waiting for the first day warm enough to hatch?
Now amidst this disheveled yard, the chaos of which makes my heart sink if I’m honest, is the most gorgeous Camellia tree you can imagine. It stands 14 feet tall, busting gut with the cheerful fuchsia blooms of spring, blooms so plentiful the foliage fades into the background. This tree was probably planted along with the house, back in the late 1930s, and its crown is 16 feet in diameter, an amazing size for an ornamental tree. Even in the wake of winter’s cold indifference, this tree is a sign of life, a monument to spring’s stirrings. Even in the ugly plastic containers that clutter my view of a bountiful creation, life is brewing and cells are replicating in their biological soups.
I am reminded that in the midst of my soul’s winter stands a remarkably vibrant tree of life. It holds out hope that beauty and order are near. Life is stirring. Wake up, sleepy one. Wake and cast off winter’s heavy garments for the Lord “wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught (Isaiah 50:4).” Though “I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me (Psalm 34:6).” Spring is coming.
On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations…Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city (Revelation 22:2, 14).