In this season between seasons, when it’s not really winter but doesn’t really seem like spring either, the changes occurring in the natural world are sometimes very subtle. Yet, I have learned, they are there. Nothing is really sitting still. Everything is silently, gradually, almost imperceptibly, readying itself for when it’s time to burst forth into newness of life. It does require my camera and I to look harder on these days when a walk still requires me to wear the old winter hat and mittens, but the discoveries we do make of coming spring are only that much more triumphant.
Today I take note: The last of the cattails that have been neat little brown cylindrical sausages on sticks all winter are finally, after months of wear by wind and snow, disintegrating into downy halos of seed. They are dying, giving up of the very last of themselves. Soon the bare stalks will turn soft as well, bowing to the swamp below them nevermore to rise again.
But we all know that somewhere, in other bare nooks in the swamp, baby cattails will spring forth from the downy fluff these tired old stalks are releasing to the wind. There would be no continuance of life if they held onto the gift they possessed; it is only in the letting go that life will go on. They release the old, looking forward unto the new and better things to come—and in the late afternoon sunshine, it’s as though they’re crowned with glory.
“But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. .” (Philippians 3:13-14, KJV)