Altogether 1420 in the Shire was a marvelous year. Not only was there wonderful sunshine and delicious rain, in due times and perfect measure, but there seemed something more: an air of richness and growth, and a gleam of a beauty beyond that of mortal summers that flicker and pass upon this Middle-earth.
Okay, so it's 2012, and it's only spring, but what a spring. It has been almost unspeakably beautiful. Almost. But of course I'll try, I'll scrabble along, longing to find words to speak the loveliness, the wonder, the exhilaration that has transformed my bit of Middle-earth here on Hickory Lane. And since a picture is worth a thousand words... just think, this post is much shorter than it could be!
I hardly know where to begin, how to begin, to show you my little transformed world. Perhaps I could take you along on a morning walk...come, come, grab a sweatshirt – I'll take my favorite pink one. We shiver heading out the door, but I'm telling you, on the way back, these sweatshirts will be tied around our waists. You thought we were walking early? Look, someone else had a much earlier start to her day!
We bury our hands deep in pockets; today the breeze still dances, wild, chill. But listen: wind-sound is muted by tree blossoms and catkins and bracts, and a thousand thousand tiny emerging leaves in as many shades as autumn offers.
Every day that bird sits just there, in that same tree, often on the same branch; his tiny throat swells, and song sparrow joy spills across the morning like the color yellow.
There is so much a picture cannot hold: mourning dove's plaintive call (is he really sad?) , flicka-flicka-flicka followed by lots of drumming, a persistent flicker announces he has arrived. Most of the travelers have returned – we see, we hear robins and blue birds and crows. Redwing blackbirds call,"congaree;" even the meadow lark is back, did you hear him, just now? Brown thrasher mocks all others, over and over, over and over. When we stand still, sound envelopes us, swelling and fading, swelling and fading as if orchestrated by an Unseen hand. Oh.
Forsythia shrubs show off their newest outfits, yellow, yellow, yellow, exuberantly, excessively, unashamedly yellow. And they dress that way every.single. day.
Oh, the colors - the greens and yellow greens and pale greens and the greeny yellows, plus pale, pale pink and white, even orange tints and glowing reds. Why do we have so few words for colors? My supply seems so inadequate, so limited, and yet I try. Do you see what I mean? Does your heart sometimes hurt with the beauty of what you are seeing? Hearing? Feeling? Experiencing?
Keep listening. Breathe in "an air of richness and growth," breathe out whatever it was that almost kept you from walking in the shire and discovering spring had arrived. "When did it happen?" you ask. It is always happening, moment by moment by moment, the same way your life is now happening, one moment following another, until one day you will notice there is more of your life behind you than ahead of you. And before you know it, the last bit will slip by, or you will slip by it. Make sure, before that happens, that at least one time you've found spring in your shire, in your bit of Middle-earth. Look for it…