Along the Way – Rev. Steve Cook – April 2019

New England springs are wondrous fickle. There are days, even a week or so, that almost make the winter worthwhile, only to turn surly and March-like the next. We are ready for the sweet, true warmth of June well before it arrives, ready to put away the boots and heavy clothing. “Won’t it be nice,” we think, “when we can just get up and walk out the door without a thought in whatever we happen to be wearing?” Yes, it will be so!

Winter in our region is a heavy season. It has its blessings; many relish the short, chill days that invite us to activities we can do in no other season—skiing, sledding, skating—while the slowing and darkening of the season can be conducive to gathering in, to thoughtfulness. As one who reads and writes much, I appreciate those blessings. However, even for me it is well that winter does not last too long. The inwardness can too easily cloy, the thoughtfulness become self-absorption. I am ready, then, to let go and turn outward, releasing what I no longer need, opening myself to the new.

I like these thoughts on such a letting go by the contemporary American poet Wendell Berry.

A Purification
At start of spring I open a trench
in the ground. I put into it
the winter’s accumulation of paper, pages I do not want to read
again, useless word, fragments, errors. And I put into it
the contents of the outhouse:
light of the sun, growth of the ground, finished with one of their journeys. To the sky, to the wind, then,
and to the faithful trees, I confess
my sins: that I have not been happy enough, considering my good luck; have listened to too much noise; have been inattentive to wonders; have lusted after praise.
And then upon the gathered refuse
of mind and body, I close the trench, folding shut against the dark,
the deathless earth. Beneath that seal the old escapes in the new.
–Wendell Berry

However it may be for you that you greet the spring, may it be welcome; may it bring the blessings you need. Rev. Steve

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