Blog archive March 2019

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17.03.19 / 02 / letting go

Lent is often thought of as a season of austerity and renunciation, so it’s strange that it takes place in early spring. All around is new growth and bursting buds. Nobody told nature to give up anything for Lent.

At this time of year I watch my lily pots for the new buds pushing up through the soil. It’s the first indication that the lilies have survived the winter, and of how many flowers I am likely to get. The stems of lilies never branch, so ten buds appearing in the soil means ten stems this year. The fat buds will grow tall and bear many flowers, the slim buds will be shorter and may only carry one flower, or none.

When lilies have finished flowering, the dead stems remain all winter. They can’t be removed without uprooting the whole plant. The bulbs will not let the dead stems go. But in early spring, as the new growth appears, the old stems are finally released, one by one. I pull cautiously, and this time they come away without effort. It’s as if the lilies can only let go of the dead memories of last year’s flowers when they are certain that they will flower again.

So Lent is a time to let go of the dead remains of former glories, and make space for the small beginnings of future glories.

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