Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Dead Come Out in March

In winter everything sleeps under cover – so quiet and clean, so empty. I love the sharp, black calligraphy of plant stems rearing above the snow: asters, milkweed, or regal prairie dock. But with March, the sordid dead come out. Cold rain runs uncaring through rotted leaves, sodden sticks and matted grass. Any lingering snow turns gritty dark from the decay heaved to its surface. It might as well be road debris.

Birds swing joyously by, but who else could believe this is the path to life?

Just so the spiritual journey. When in the March of it, I sometimes long for the time I still slept - when I didn’t have to daily sort through yesterday’s corpses. And I wonder why some have their feet placed on the path to wakefulness, with all the pain of learning to see what is. Yet others sleep until the end, never glimpsing what else they could be.

In Wisconsin, like on the spiritual journey, we get fleeting thaws in February – 50 degrees, 60 even, and everything smells of becoming. Then another blizzard or ice storm freezes us over again.

Until March.

Not that the blizzards and freezes are done, but the cold isn’t as deep and the new snow, though piled high, swiftly melts again. So gradually the periods of warm become longer and longer. Then the decomposing bodies of last year’s dead feed this year’s spring...

As far as my spiritual journey is concerned, I can only trust that the future will be as rich.

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