Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
I step out into the cold to clip some branches from the forsythia. It is time. No blossoms yet, but placed in water in the warmth of the house they will bloom.
Finally the last vestiges of our relationship with winter are put away. No more boots line the front hallway and the towel for stopping the draft from under the front door has made its way to the laundry room. The ice-melt and the wiper fluid for the cars, which have been at hand, are put away.
It is time, too, to clear away any clutter gathered in the wilderness, to let go of any relics I have picked up along the way to which I am tempted to cling. It seems more than a season since I lifted my face to be marked with the ashes of this journey. Now I prepare to bare my heart before God and the wild cleansing of the desert wind, yearning for renewal, knowing that first I must encounter the cold before the spring, the dark before the dawn, the soul emptying to come.
I place the bare branches in the front hallway, where their promise of life and riotous color will greet us in our comings and goings as we walk the way ahead.
photo credit: Anne E. Kitch