Saturday, May 27, 2017

A postscript, and some flowers

I've been reflecting since last week that I left something out of my post on Christian involvement in the Holocaust. It's this:

This is the reason I write about rescuers. This is the reason I write about Le Chambon.

It's not the original reason, as I've said here before. The original reason was that my Mom was writing about it and I wanted to help with her project. But it is the reason I write about it now.

Because there were Christians who did the right thing. There were Christians who actually loved their neighbors during that time. And what I really want is not to whitewash the behavior of Christians in general during that time, but to ask myself and everybody: what was it about the ones who actually acted the way Christians are supposed to act? What kind of Christians were they? How were they different? How can we be more like them, so that we will act like them?

That's what I want to know. That's what I want to find out.

So. That's my coda to last week's post.


And now for something completely different!

(I mean it's about time I write something positive, right?)

Spring is in full swing here, the growing part of spring: everything green and wet and warm. Peonies opening, their white ruffled petals weighed down with clear raindrops. Such an ephemeral beauty--the wetter a peony gets, the faster it fades into brown, I've seen it before. In the first stage of spring, the tree-blossom stage, the wildflowers-on-the-forest-floor stage, I used to take the quilt outside on warm evenings and lay it out under the flowering crabapple tree and sit on it with the Boy. Sometimes we'd just lie down and look up at the white blossoms and the blue sky. He learned about bees and pollination from that tree, I remember standing near it with him in the carrier on my back, and showing him all the bees... Anyway, there was one windy day near the end of the blooms' life--they were still pure-white and lovely, but every gust of wind sent them flying till they filled the air. There's no ephemeral beauty like the beauty of petals swept away by the wind. Just looking at it hurts in that lovely way, like you're reminded of death and the sweetness of life at one and the same time.

Well. Um. I was just going to share some photos, actually. Of that earlier stage of spring, since I don't yet have photos of this one.

These are dogtooth violets, also known as trout lilies. The flowers only last two or three days. Right where our walking path enters the woods, there's a thick patch of the shiny mottled leaves. It makes maybe five or six flowers each year. They're not even that pretty, I suppose. But they're so shy, and rare, and they have a kind of grace.

Here's one in fuller bloom, though blurrier focus.

Bluebells. They grow in our backyard. Such a short life. They're annuals: they live and die and make seed, all in the short time before the trees above their forest floor leaf out and shade them. Just that short sweet time in the sun.

This is jack-in-the-pulpit. As a kid I knew it as a houseplant. I figured it was tropical. Nope! Turns out it's a North American wildflower. (For all I know it lives in the tropics too.) It makes bright orange berries in a little cluster in the fall.

A patch of ramps (wild onions, like the ones Rapunzel's mother craved!) see through a fallen log.

Bloodroot leaf with the sun shining in it. Below is what the flowers look like. They last three days at the most. We value things we can't keep.

 And, last, those white blossoms and that blue sky. They come out every spring, unfolding out of brown-grey branches we could have sworn were dead. They are ready, they know their time. There is such strength in roots and seeds, biding their time through the winter, waiting to pass out of death and into life.

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