Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Spring in Minnesota

For winter’s rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

Algernon Charles Swinburne, (1837–1909)
Atalanta in Calydon (1865)

With the return of spring to Minnesota, I’ve been making the most of the warm sunny days by riding my bike through the quiet neighborhood streets around my home in St. Paul, and down to the bicycle paths that ribbon alongside the Mississippi River.

One aspect of life in the United States that I’ve always enjoyed is how the seasons are much more pronounced than in Australia.

I find spring, in particular, a wonderful and beautiful time of year: the budding leaves, the blossoming trees, the emerging shoots of soon-to-be blooming flowers - all speak of those profoundly spiritual realities of renewal, transformation, and new life.

Again it is spring
Look again it is spring
Time again for birds to sing;
Winter's gray now is past
Vibrant green is here at last.

Gentle rains usher in
Signs of life and joy within;
With each passing day we know
Gone for now are ice and snow.

Now the soil soaks in rain
Green adorns the earth so plain;
With each bud that bursts in bloom
Life springs from its winter tomb.

Birds are singing
Leaves are fluttering;
Winter's muttering
Dies away . . .

John Fagan

One of my favorite places to which I enjoy riding my bike, “Kongoni,” is a spot on the river bluffs below the University of St. Thomas. It’s a very peaceful place to sit, reflect, journal, and pray. Sometimes I simply sit in the warm sun and watch as the swallows dart back and forth across the great river. Occasionally, a barge - ladened with gravel or sand - will pass slowly by.

The sight of the nearby Lake St./Marshall Ave. Bridge and the dull and distant roar of planes from the airport, are often the only reminders that one is in the midst of a major metropolitan area. It’s quite amazing, really.

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