A couple years ago I learned to play the dulcimer – or at least well enough to be a part of the recorder~dulcimer ensemble at our church (the existence of which was just one more confirmation for me that we had found the right place). At any rate, one of the songs we'll be playing this Sunday for Easter is named “Christ Has Risen While Earth Slumbers”. I love the words, “while Earth slumbers” - the sound of them, but also it makes me think about all that is rising here: an eruption of life just in the last week, it seems. Plants appearing in their new bright green: chives, nettle, yarrow, daffodils, tiny jewel weed seedlings carpeting the ground beneath the trees and under the decaying leaves. And animals: a garter snake slithering across our path, a leech out of the creek, soft and naked mole babies in the compost pile with tiny little back feet and huge spades for the front, summer birds returning, and migrants stopping by on their way back home.
While Earth slumbers: the world above the ground can seem static, when looking at it with a wide, preoccupied, lens – a forest of bare trees, brown, gray, black. The evergreen green that no longer catches the eye, just fading into the background. Snow, then mud [repeat], olive grass imperceptibly turning to kelly green. But while Earth slumbers, there must also be so much happening beneath the ground, unseen life and movement, in seeds and trunks, roots and burrows. It borders on unfathomable, or maybe crosses the line.
And there is reassurance in all that activity, I think: a reminder of certain things (so many important things) which will happen in their time with absolutely no orchestration from me. I have been burned out. I have been - I am - exhausted and a bit blinded and numbed by all those little and not as little things that sometimes work together to feel so very heavy and just never ending. But all the this new life rising, all the unseen workings that brought it to this point: it is good. It breaks through the heaviness and takes a bit of the load, slipping – lightly – into its place, little by little.