Friday, March 8, 2013

From My Journal: A Turning

The calendar says it’s still February. By any estimation in the Northern Hemisphere, that means there’s still nearly a month of winter remaining before the equinox. And yet there it was this afternoon: a small, humble, purple flower in bloom up on one of the Ridgeline Open Space trails. It was barely noticeable in the drabness of the season’s faded browns and grays, but it was there, one of those low-to-the-ground jobs that would look more at home above treeline in summer or in some tundra setting. I guess that’s appropriate. But still, this is forty degrees latitude after all, and that trail has got to be about sixty-three hundred feet elevation, not the most conducive environment for a February bloom.

It’s a sign, though, a symbol of a turning. And except for a small flock of robins we’ve noticed in the back yard, which can have as much to do with strong winds as seasonal change, it’s the first sign, a harbinger, a portent… The winter has been long, the ground cold, lakes frozen (“…earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone…”); this first flower is welcome. The turning has begun.

I can't specifically recall what exact flower it was, but
this might have been it, an oxytrope (not my photo)
How I need such a thing,
a sign of the turning.

How I need such a thing, a sign of the turning. More than at any other time of the seasons, I need it as winter proceeds. It gives me hope for myriad wildflowers to come, and for long, warm evenings without a sweatshirt, firm and dry trails, late sunsets, baseball, picnics in the mountain high places, and the other satisfactions of the summer. But I find I sometimes need a sign of the turning as faith proceeds as well – a herald, a precursor -- that what, or rather Who, I have placed faith in is trustworthy, that this long winter of mortal torpidity, too, shall turn.

Jesus said it was a wicked and adulterous generation that demanded a sign. (See it). And the Epistle writer insists that God is a rewarder of the kind of faith that is sure of things it only hopes for, certain of things it cannot see. (See it.)

Well, I’m not demanding a sign. But I’ll sure take it when it’s offered.

~~RGM, from an earlier journal entry,
Adapted for Blog March 8, 2013

P.S. Fast-forward to tonight, March 8 of 2013: I heard a spotted towhee's call this evening, the first of the season, a sound of summer. It will hold me in my reverie even in spite of the forecasted ten to fifteen inches of snow and blizzard warnings out for tomorrow here in Denver.


  1. So I wondered what a spotted towhee sounded like and looked it up on All About Birds:

    When I listened to his (or her) voice, you could also hear him (or her) shuffling through the underbrush as towhees do. Cool -- a touch of Colorado spring in dreary Chicago.

  2. Cool! Did you notice that its sound is an onomatopoeia? It says tow-tow-tow-hee-hee-hee-hee-hee. Had fun sharing that with Madeleine last summer. The foothills around us here are just crowded with them all spring, summer and fall.