April is my favorite month of the year on the “Golden Coast” of Michigan. After many months of apparent windblown desolation and dormancy during the winter the great spring plant wake-up occurs suddenly with many amazing changes.
The first thing I notice is the color green on the trees. The new leaves of the wild cherries, oaks and maples along with the beeches, serviceberries and dogwoods create a freshness in the color that cheers me up. The leaves may be no bigger than a squirrel’s ear, but collectively they brighten the woods.
The second thing I notice is the blooming of the many spring wildflowers. Though there are many I don’t know, the Dutchman’s breeches delicately pushing through the leaves catches my attention. Next, my breath is taken away by the sight of the sweeping drifts of my favorite wildflower, the queen of wildflowers, the white trillium. Everything about this flower is in threes: three leaves, three green sepals under the flower, and the three large pure white flower petals. The white will turn a delicate pink when they are older. Beautiful! I have heard a legend that holds that this flower represent the “Holy Trinity” because of its “threeness” and its white purity.
The third thing I notice is the sound of the breaking waves on the shore. Upon closer examination, I can see that the shore has changed greatly since I was on the site last fall. The low water levels have exposed more sand to the effects of the winter winds. Great drifts of sand are working back up the hill. The stones, which once littered the beach, are now completely buried by the sand. There are fresh things to find that have been washed up on shore: zebra mussels clinging to seaweed, driftwood, dead fish, and the ubiquitous party balloons released by some hopeful child.
The fourth thing I notice is the wonderful smell of spring. The strong breeze carries the scent of the lake, the earth and the life of springtime.
Finally, I notice the sound and activity of the birds and squirrels in the woods. If I stand quietly, the black squirrel quits barking its warning. The variety of the birds is amazing. I hear a woodpecker in the distance. The crows also make their harsh sounds. Though it is too early for the purple martins to return, bluejays, mourning doves, wrens and robins can be seen setting up housekeeping and gathering food. Within a couple of days I saw a rufous- sided towhee and (I am almost sure) the crow size pileated woodpecker in flight. They were both relatively rare and beautiful. Shhh! A robin just landed two feet from my head. Wow, that is a thrill!
Indeed the Lord brings joy in the springtime. In the beauty of spring we can see that He is faithful to His promise to come again as He brings about the seasons until that time. Also, we are reminded of the new life that He creates in us out of our deadness in sin when we are given new spiritual life in our risen Savior.
The breeze is cool as it blows,
Touching my forehead as it goes.
The sound of a woodpecker taps out a rhythm,
As bluejays scold me for the disturbance I’ve given.
The trillium in colonies add their white brilliance,
To the shaded forest floor as the mayapples dance.
No insects, only birds, swell the air with songs.
They have returned to the summer home where they belong.
A sweetness fills the air with its scent,
The smell of earth, of humus, of winter, now spent.
The snow has melted slowly drip by drip,
And icicles form from the sap of a snapped branch tip.
The beaches are lonesome and quiet to walk,
A perfect time to reflect on the wonder He has wrought.
Pray for the eyes and ears to take it all in,
For a chance to pause and reflect once again.
If the Lord can take wondrous care of the shoreline,
Then surely we know all things will be fine.
If such beauty surrounds us on our earthly quest,
How much more the beauty of our new home of rest.