ISSUES OF FAITH: The surprise of spring

THOUGH I GREW up in Northwest Washington — Lynden — I spent most of my life in Michigan.

There, the cold of winter quickly gives way to the heat of summer, with springtime some years almost bypassed.

Having returned to the Pacific Northwest 14 years ago, I continue to take particular pleasure in the long, leisurely springs typical of this area.

But even though our springs are relatively leisurely — in four days on March 20 spring will be officially recognized — the actuality of spring still takes me by surprise.

How does it happen?

How does it happen?!

This living green and gold out of the seemingly dead brown and gray?

Poet Archibald MacLeish also felt this and found a way to express it — this experience of being overtaken by the fact of new life bursting from old life and the suddenness with which it happens.

The poem is titled, “Miracle.”

Why, it was wonderful! Why, all at once there were leaves,

Leaves at the end of a dry stick, small, alive

Leaves out of wood. It was wonderful,

You can’t imagine. They came by the wood path

And the earth loosened, the earth relaxed, there were flowers

Out of the earth! Think of it! And oak trees

Oozing new green at the tips of them and flowers

Squeezed out of clay, soft flowers, limp

Stalks flowering. Well, it was like a dream,

It happened so quickly, all of a sudden it happened

I don’t have much to say about this poem except that it exquisitely captures my own experience of spring — the wonder of spring — the surprise of spring.

It’s as if I have turned away for an instant and, when I turn back, this miracle has happened.

I am never quite prepared for it — thankfully so.

Perhaps, in connection to this poem, I could also raise a question about spring as it relates to our interior being.

Is there any new birth in the life of your spirit to match this rebirth in nature, any dry twig or branch within you, seemingly without life that might have suddenly burst into blossom?

Maybe there is, but maybe you haven’t taken the time to notice.

Spring calls to us, but spring is also in us.

That, too, is something of a dream.


Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. The Rev. Bruce Bode is minister of the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Port Townsend. His email is [email protected]

More in Life

Northwest cherry crops facing disease and decreased harvest

Cherry industry officials in Oregon and Washington state… Continue reading

HORSEPLAY: Keeping pests away from your horse

HAVE YOU HEARD this joke? When talking to a person who annoys… Continue reading

Online church services on the Peninsula

PORT ANGELES • Independent Bible Church: 9 a.m. Sunday, a link to… Continue reading

A GROWING CONCERN: Thirteen ways to summer garden bliss

YOUR “CORONA GARDENS,” yard, lawn and landscape should all be going gangbusters… Continue reading

ISSUES OF FAITH: Return to God with your whole heart

FIRST, IT’S GREAT to be alive. I just spent 10 days at… Continue reading

Sequim Botanical Garden boasts hundreds of irises

Hundreds of irises will be blooming over the next few… Continue reading

Best updated automobiles for 2020

By Reese Counts | Edmunds via The Associated Press In every new… Continue reading

Memorial Day

In commemoration of the people who have died in service of the… Continue reading

A GROWING CONCERN: ‘Get the dirt’ on dirt in your garden

THE WEATHER WAS so idealistic for Mother’s Day and the much-needed rain… Continue reading

Port Angeles Farmers Market modifies operations

Amy Preusser of Agnew, right, receives a container of… Continue reading

ISSUES OF FAITH: No matter how lonely, humanity is never alone

“THEN THE LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man… Continue reading

Sequim Farmers Market to open Saturday

Venue has been modified for health precautions