March 08, 2006

Vernal Embertide Contemplation.

'The seasons intimate individually the bliss of Heaven, where there is "the beauty of spring, the brightness of summer, the plenty of autumn, the rest of winter."'

Today I'm treating myself. I'm going to get all dressed up, go down to the park, then go out to eat by myself for dinner. I'm going to treat myself to good company, even if it's unrequited. Clouds and trees do not love back, the sun and moon do not love back, beautiful strangers do not love back. But I can dwell in love and wait for spring. I will hold intimately the coals of my love for a world who holds me intimately but does not know me well, and I will be warm. I will be warm and wait for spring. I will remember the ember days.

The Vernal or Lenten Embertide remind us of the coming beauty of spring, and our relationship to beauty in the world. It is the tragedy and the blessing of beauty to be complete in itself, to be whole and self-fulfilled. To see beauty, we must often be separate from it, and the beauty that we are intimately a part of may be too large for us to see. Our sense of awe in the presence of beauty is heightened and sharpened by our awareness of distance, by our longing for something with which we are not fully merged. Our longing makes beauty both sweet and ephemeral. Beauty stirs us out of ourselves.

We remember, and on these ember days of the coming spring, we seek solitude and distance. We remember that beauty surrounds us, and we withdraw from busy-ness in order to remind ourselves, to perceive it better. We remember beauty and seek its company--we seek the company of the wind and the trees, of the distant and still-cold sun, of the kind and lovely strangers whom we do not know but who are still connected to us through beauty, love and the Divine within each of us. We remember that we, too, are infinitely beautiful, that within us burns the dark potential of the rose of the soul to bloom suddenly open at the first warm breath of the season. We withdraw from the noisy world and become beautiful, content in our uniqueness, awe-filled in our longing. We remember beauty and, in it, we find the relief of freedom, the song of the breathless skylark in its strong and far-away flight. We hear the beauty of distant music sung not for us but for itself alone, and on these ember days, together we remember.


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