Textual Arachne

A weaver of threads.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Mmm, harmonious convergences. Tomorrow I'll be making another full-moon post, but tonight is the Equinox, and that means its own post.

Today signals growing momentum. From Imbolc to now, everything has seemed more or less the same: gray skies, occasional snowstorms. Since I'm on an academic calendar, it's also been more or less the same--the first half of a semester, in which everything is still a matter of getting a handle on new subjects and new classes. It can seem like stasis.

But today gives the lie to that feeling--sometimes comfortable, sometimes stagnant--of inertia. The first crocuses of the year have sprung up outside my house, warmed by the southern exposure heating the rock under their thin beds. The oak trees have clusters of red. If I were back in Indiana, there might be redbuds blooming already. Shrubs and trees have long shoots of new growth and tight buds, making their outlines hazy.

The bud (in addition to inspiring this poem, which spells it out better than I could...) is both past and future. Its presence means that what we perceived as stasis has been the coiling of a spring, the germination of a seed. The branch that seemed dead promises life to come. Winter recedes, and what seemed to have been killed by cold is revealed as not only sleeping, but preparing for this moment.

And it also points toward the season to come, promising green leaves and the sunlight through them, grass and vines and blooms. The bud cannot remain a bud, or it gives the lie to the preparation of the previous season and is truly dead. It is beautiful in its own right, but cannot remain only itself, just as none of us can be exactly preserved without ceasing to be. Extended far forward, the promise of the bud is not only leaf, but flower, and the fruit that follows after, and the seed in the fall, and the winter's sleep again. It is caught up in the wheel of the year, made and unmade by it.

In a few weeks the magnolias will begin to bloom. At first, the flowers will resemble thin white flames upright scattered throughout the branches. Then some will open into white and pink waxy blossoms while others stay tightly wrapped. I look at magnolias and think of a Tree of Life; but it is more meaningful, somehow, when I think of a Tree of Life and picture magnolias.

Every holiday brings a gift, and every holiday asks a gift from us. The gift we are asked to give at this Equinox is courage--courage to step into the wheel, not hold still, to grow or bloom or eventually die. Courage to take on the next stages of our lives. What the Spring Equinox brings is the realization that half of the preparations have already been made. Like it or not, we have been readying ourselves to take this step even without realizing it.


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