By Otha Barham / outdoors editor
As time goes by, I see more and more revelations in the outdoors that are analogous to significant meanings in human life. It is as if nature is our teacher, constantly showing us meanings; demonstrating truths.
One of the most striking examples for me is the parallels of what we consider an ordinary day with the time we celebrate as Easter. Each day in nature is a mini-Easter if you will. In writing our language, we capitalize the word Easter. Sometimes I want to capitalize the word day, because nature's 24 hour day illustrates the details and patterns of so much that is significant in life, most notably the Creation and the pathway to life that may change form but does not cease.
One particular day, Easter Day, especially speaks these reassuring parallels. The Easter revelation begins with the darkness of night. Our eyes are blinded by the night and it offers no direction; no help for finding our way (unless we look upward to the heavens and embrace the established order of the stars).
Nature’s nights bring silence, save for the plaintive calls of owls and coyotes and wolves; sounds so easily associated with death. At night we are stilled by sleep as in death. Night is black and lonely and the time when much evil occurs.
But even as night lingers, there is hope for the light to come. We are shown seven times a week that we can be saved from the darkness. For night brings the promise of light to come. Without night (and death), how meaningful would be light (and life)? And so the night gives way to a glow in the east. And the glow is colorful, like the flags leading a parade. And the parade grows to a golden flood, flowing into the darkness in the east and then quickly into every dark crevice of the earth.
Birds of the fields and woodlands begin their chirping, quietly at first and then building to deafening songs of applause for the coming light. The dogwoods and redbuds and jasmine and a thousand other plants of every size and color are awakened and nourished and saved by that one missing ingredient to photosynthesis. The light activates their feeding and cell production; their life.
Animals shake off the cold of night in the warm sunlight. Fish move to the warming shallows to spawn their kind by the millions. The power of light is unstoppable, in the absolute sense. Only man’s desperate barriers keep out the light, and he suffers the consequences.
Most of us rise from the night and become active again, creating, building, serving. For now the light has come and shows us by its many glories how it will serve us; save us.
We are about to experience a marvelous intensification of what each of nature's days gives us as a short course, an encapsulation. Easter.
First, Good Friday is here and all is dark as the night. But Easter is just beyond the horizon, waiting to overcome darkness and bring us light. And life. Nature, with all its subjects, has been telling us this every single day.