Early Spring, and the woods are brown. Just various shades of faded brown and beige. I journey through these woods daily as the air in the place I live finally begins to warm. In this time of Lent I am looking for inspiration and usually I can always find it here, in these woods, but lately it escapes me.
The only splashes of color come from the neon yellow of a runner’s shoes as he passes me, or a colorful jersey worn by a bicyclist. I notice some plastic pink flags tied to tiny saplings, but mostly I see only more brown; brittle fallen leaves that have all faded to the same shade, bare trees and branches, broken sticks on the path, the mud in my way as the Earth sips slowly on melting snow.
Anything green is still asleep, waiting. There is little birdsong, unless a woodpecker poking at a tree can be counted. It seems he too is looking for any signs of life under that brown bark.
The woods are waiting silently under these grey skies. Waiting for better days, maybe. I, too, seem to live in this constant waiting for better days.
“As soon as I get this weight off again, things will be better.” “As soon as I get that money, things will be better.”
“As soon as the virus goes away, things will be better.”
I carry hatred in my heart for someone I see as my enemy and as I cross the wooden bridge over what I call my “Baptism Creek”, I decide the flowing water is a good place to set that hatred down. I say his name. May he be whole, may he be safe, may he have joy, may he have peace. I almost choke on the words and I tell myself that is what is bringing these tears to my eyes.
I realize as I walk, I am in my own season of brown. Waiting for daffodils and tulips and green leaves, because I can’t find the beauty in the place I am walking right now. My eyes that have seen almost half a century are struggling to see it, but just as these eyes have never stopped searching for a piece of quartz glinting in the sun or an arrowhead lying in a field, I must never stop looking. For I know someday soon a child will leave a painted rock on this path for me to find, and it will shine in the sun like a piece of quartz.
As I travel deeper into the woods I feel the sun on my cheek. A warm kiss from an old friend. The promise of a future freckle. As the sun lights up the woods it almost looks gold. Maybe brown and gold are in the same family. To think, I almost didn’t see the gold because I thought I neede