The sun and the atmosphere partner to give off that hazy, ethereal light on afternoons in mid-August, portending a change in the seasons. They do the same thing on early spring mornings.
Las beañas were stirring earlier than usual this morning and, being the dutiful husband and father and light sleeper that I am, I took one for the team, got out of bed and readied for early morning snuggles and Ella the Elephant. When I actually left the bedroom, though, the stirring stopped, the girls soothed themselves back to sleep and I was left hung out to dry.
Normally, this kind of folderol would have left me quite perturbed, but I actually got decent sleep last night; that, and I opened the kitchen shade. That light, the sunrise just over the house across the street, the absence of snow [/raises amen card], birds chirping, dew on the ground instead of frost. Life instead of the dreary stasis of winter.
Back in college and around this time of year, I did a road trip with my good friend and later, campus pastor, as well as one of the students from UWSP. We spent a few days in Duluth working on campus with a ministry there and then down to Milwaukee, where we hung out with the students at UWM. Duluth, essentially the American Laplands–Finns and all!–was still frozen and frigid. Spring doesn’t show up around Lake Superior until essentially Memorial Day and gives way to summer roughly three days later. Milwaukee, on the other hand, had succumbed to spring: not yet in bloom, but decidedly free of winter’s grip.
We stayed in the home of a friend of the campus ministry in Fox Point, situated across the street from an old Lutheran church with an ornate, stained glass steeple. Having crashed on the most comfortable couch in the history of mankind, I awoke that morning to a living room resplendent with reds, blues and greens. I rolled over and had a religious experience: the sun caught that steeple perfectly that morning, the ethereal glow filling the air around the church, the light catching that stained glass. For the few moments on the one day when the sun’s angle in the sky was perfectly aligned with that house, that church and my sprawled-out position on a couch, there were no words. There still aren’t.
This morning, for whatever reason, reminded me of that. There was no steeple, no kaleidoscopic colors filling the room, but there is yet present the hope of spring: life and renewal. The foreboding haze of August is the foretaste of April.
All that is dormant comes back; despair must give way to hope, which must give way to life. Fitting as Western Christians move through the Holy Week, now that I think of it.
Thanks for going back to bed, girls.