Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Apple Trees in Blossom 1896

Levitan painted several versions of apple orchards in bloom. This is a young orchard. The ground is green-ing; the sky is blue. There is a house off the back margin of the grove of trees and Levitan has kindly placed a bench for us under the nearest tree, where we can sit and take it all in. "Take it all in" might refer to the scent of the tree-flowers and the buzzing of the bee-pollinators. It is Spring!

And for the Christian it is Spring TWICE because it is Lent and Lent is called The Church's Springtime. Notice, not: 

the Church's misery time,
the Church's give-up time,
the Church's suffer more time,
the Church's punishment time...
but Springtime!

Not knowing how to go about it, the idea might make some Christians nervous. Lots of people think the rigour of Lent is the fasting aspect. I wouldn't agree with that. I could eat nothing for forty days and come out the other side starved, but with no interior work having been undertaken. 

The Lenten Springtime is an inner movement, a call to creativity, as the earth itself is being seasonally re-created. How might these Springtime metaphors signify in my life. Springtime means:

  • Thaw out
  • Melt
  • Warm
  • Plant
  • Take root
  • Sprout
  • Get green
  • Grow
  • Hatch
  • Fly
  • Wake-up
  • Come out from underground
  • Come out of the cave
  • Break out of the cocoon.
  • Bloom

Of course, someone might say this diminishes the business of Lent because these are "just metaphors" meaning not real. But I would say metaphors are most real as they can name what is close, deep and personal in my own unique life. Metaphor can be much more scary than the thought of not eating sweets for forty days, and much more exciting, engaging and transformative.

I mean, come Easter, I want to have grown and changed somewhat, don't you think?


  1. I agree with this 100%. It is no coincidence to me that Easter comes during the Spring when I want to crawl out of my winter hibernation and feel the newness of the air and smell the good green earth coming back to life. It is why I emerge from Lent looking for the Risen Christ with an open and clean heart. A big blooming.

  2. This is what Lent should really be about, isn't it? To grow towards God through an examination of our consciousness. Not to look at what we have done wrong throughout the year, but rather, to see how we can come to know Him better and more wholly. Only then can we know we are on the right path.

  3. I am getting an education in Russian landscape. I didn't know they had such beautiful scenery. The Russia I think of is Soviet in nature like the city of Moscow. It is a pity that our views of other countries are tainted by what we read in the news or see in movies.