For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. But you refused. Isaiah 30:15
What is it about humankind that makes it hard to rest?
What is it about us that makes us turn up the lights, press “Next Episode,” or chatter away on the phone given the space of one commute?
She stands on the edge of the contrived pond in our neighbor’s backyard. Raindrops pucker the water as the sequins on her skirt glint dully. Her face is squinched up peering into the leaf-strewn water.
Has life come back to the water?
Tadpoles, water skates, beetles, weeds. These are the things of spring.
My schedule is full today. Between math lessons and grocery shopping, the shadows have shortened, turned around, and lengthened without my notice. I am busy. I am productive. I am valuable.
She points to the daffodils by the mailbox. “See, Mommy, it’s almost spring.”
Yes, it is. But I am, strangely, not ready yet. Even though I have chafed under the house-arrest of sub-freezing temperatures, I feel like I have not embraced the rest of winter. In my climate-controlled, artificially-lighted space, I have not let winter in. I have refused.
On my wild flower seed packet, they call wintering “stratification.” To be broken into discrete layers. To be laid out. Like eons of rock, pressed and patient. Quiet but tectonic. A stable upheaval.
I am surrounded by the detritus of my busy-ness, stacks of Very Good Books that I haven’t finished (yet), Chloraseptic spray to soothe my aching throat that not-enough-rest has prolonged into a week-long ordeal, a broken wheel from a robot I am supposed to be fixing, a jar full of quarters...actually, I don’t know why that’s there, and I wonder, is it too late to let myself stratify this year?
I mounded the potatoes on Saturday. Apparently you should plant a potato and then mound it up every time it gets some growth going. It forces the plant to push a bit higher to get to the light, and this increases the plant’s potato production. So I mounded the potatoes. I forced them back into the dark. And in this forced repose, they will gather new strength.
I know that “in returning and rest [I] shall be saved…[and I] refused.”
But later Isaiah writes,
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.
Perhaps there is still time…
After all, there was frost on the grass this morning.