Wednesday, March 11, 2015


I don't know whether it's the long winter; the fact that it's finally giving up; the incessant bursts of snow and frozen ground; the melt and freeze on the front flagstone I finally slipped on yesterday; the rotating pile of snow clothes -- damp and dried -- from box to mountain at the door again and again; the sloshy thaw everywhere; fog and rain and shoes caked with mud; no sign of anything green yet; or just a general funk -- whatever it is, I've been feeling scuzz.

In the past couple of days, exhausted though my body feels, I keep finding myself pawing through everything with a trash bag at my knee: drawers, bedside tables, the shelves in the kids' rooms, the pantry, closets of clothing.

This must be what is called "spring cleaning," a phrase that sounds tidier than the angsty impulse to start again, to make space, to do away with, to throw away the kids' vaguely mildew-smelling mittens for good.

I am feeling that need for making space internally as well.  I'm craving a new season, a new rootedness.  In the midst of my hands making efforts, I've felt my own needs, too, emerging in the thaw.

Something happens in our need.  As winter ends that something seems echoed outside, in the earthy smell as we open the front door.  It's a rawness.  It's a hunger for -- and actual emergence of -- softening -- muddy and lacking control, the mystery of life rich and rooted just beneath the surface.

Last night I was reading Frederick Buechner who said this:

For what we need to know, of course, is not just that God exists, not just that beyond 
the steely brightness of the stars there is a cosmic intelligence of some kind that keeps 
the whole show going, but that there is a God right here in the thick of our day-by-day 
lives one way or another is trying to get messages through our blindness 
as we move around down here knee-deep in the fragrant muck and misery and marvel 
of the world... It is not objective proof of God's existence that we want but... 
the experience of God's presence.  That is the miracle that we are really after.  
And that is also, I think, the miracle that we really get.

Presence in the midst of "the fragrant muck and misery and marvel" -- yes.