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The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the handiwork of his hands.

Psalm 19: 1

Imperceptibly, more darkness seeps into the next moment, withdraws warmth from what had been greening, prompts the extra sweater, necessitates switching on fixtures and headlights, even beclouds sinfulness. Months of this tenebrous world loom ahead, with months of deepening awareness, critical for maneuvering safely. Too many have experienced falls upon black ice, fender-benders, sickness.

Yet, darkness has its own riches: slowing down, observing the next step, relishing its womb-like embraces, marveling at starry nights, entering the realm of stillness, listening to heart-stirrings, discovering nuances of meaning, releasing tears. If opened to its dailyness, dreams emerge, shadowy bedrooms invite deeper sleep, senses of touch and hearing and smelling sharpen and recreate our world.

The prophet Isaiah speaks to this consoling mystery: I form the light and create the darkness. I, the Lord, do all these things.

Within such darkness, we learn to see, anew.

Fifteen years ago this morning, humid and cloudy, Two Men and a Truck moved my belongings to my new home, a modest bungalow, ideal for its quiet and neighborly support. Outside my study window flourished an old lilac shrub; it’s still there, in full bloom, its fragrance drawing smiles from dog-walkers.

But the deepest smiles have been my own. Aside from periodic pruning and watering, I’ve contributed little toward the shrub’s survival. Winter-ice encased the buds, snowdrifts weighted the branches, and winds, like whirling dervishes, propelled its root systems into deeper articulation.

Infrequently, though, a freeze shocked the heady blossoms, and then it was over until next year—Brown and spent, they languished and nicked my grief.

With this spring’s frolicking, however, fully rounded lilac buds slowly split with tinges of pale green; then emerged clusters of lavender nubs until warmed into full petalling. It’s happened again, for the sixteenth year.

Such beauty reminds me of the Source, ever recoloring my psyche and companioning my end time that demands even more consciousness. Again, as I look out my study window, I thrill with regal blossoms sweeping the sky. I’m in good hands and always have been.

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