Early Spring

By Lillian Ireland

The early dawn had been enshrouded in profound global grief.

Feeling the despair, I turned off the news and stepped outside for some brisk morning
air. Needing a healthy distraction, I drove to my outdoor sanctuary, a place of safety and
familiarity. My fingers automatically reached for the car radio and just as quickly, I exclaimed,
“No!” and pulled my hand away.

It had been a few long years, and it felt like we had all been sitting on an immense tether ball
bouncing wildly through the universe, randomly and without regard, ricocheting off every edge
of grief.

Disbelief…fear…despair…confusion…despondency…anger…bargaining, exhaustion…hope..then
back to disbelief…as masks, social distancing, vaccines, boosters, restrictions, social injustice
horrors and travesties, environmental and political tragedies and chaos simultaneously jostled
for attention.

The continual updates demanded deep awareness and action, yet i felt inadequate and
helpless, like a snail crawling ever so slowly on an endless trail of gravel and rocks, trying to
discern how to move ahead.

How I wished things were different; it was hard to pull myself away from the devastating news.
I’d been wallowing in a graying pit and needed a change of mental scenery. As I parked, I saw
the closest trees stenciled in darkness, like hovering giants. I knew these trees and they knew
me. I’d been coming here for several years every few days.

This morning, they too were waking up as light slowly crept over the horizon. It was chilly. I
shivered and quickly tucked my scarf around my neck, grabbed my gloves and slowly opened
the door to the cold winter’s breath of early dawn. The silence and familiar scents seemed to
welcome me. You’ve come again, stay awhile,

breathe me in as you reground yourself… walk with me and let your mind be still…

My shoulders dropped with a sigh of relief, while my eyes attuned to the dawn, my breathing
was slowing, I began giving thanks as I began to smile and look around. The bushes, the
trees, the rocks, the path; remembered from days gone by,

Nothing had changed, yet the darkness was lifting,

I exhaled another deep sigh…

As I started to walk, my eyes grew accustomed to the outlines along the path,
Then a chickadee called and caught my attention; I couldn’t help but give a short laugh.
Another responded on a different limb; their chatter elicited more smiles.
They had seen me come into their beautiful forest and knew I’d be here for a while.
Life seemed to get lighter as I picked up my pace and listened to the talkative pair,
Their banter was lively and stereophonic, their voices were filling the air.
Then sunlight broke through by the trees to my left, taking me by surprise.
Radiance beyond words lit up the forest, I could barely believe my eyes!

It was more than a gift, this moment so rare,
pouring into and painting the woods.
The trees were embraced by the Creator’s bright rays,

Taken in by this grandeur, I stood…
This moment, this day will fleetingly pass,
Like my mood, changed already with time,
The Healer’s prescription, yes, natural medicine for
the body, the soul and the mind.

The light had penetrated the darkness,
brightening the woods… and my soul…I needed this…

The prolonged and heavy grief seemed to have seeped out of my pores and had washed away,
with this unspeakable light.

Even though I’d been feeling like that tiny snail, carrying the weight of the world on my
shoulders, I was lifted out of the doldrums by this glorious and sacred sunrise.

From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, Creator of heaven and earth.

It was a new day and I could press on ever onward, as our ancestors had done before us, giving
thanks for God’s incredible grace and mercy.


  1. and is there an author of this insightful writing? Many are the times – – many are the times – – that simply ‘going outside’ and into the space that is there – – forest, sea, meadow, garden, park…and have been enveloped in what is always there for us. If we reach out…

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