By Valentine’s Day spring will come to Sacramento. There is a tree with white blossoms, I think it is called False Pear, that is the first to bloom and today I see limbs studded with tightly closed, pink-tinged buds.
To celebrate I visit the park and sit in the sun awhile. An older woman using a cane is taking a young terrier for a walk. The dog’s nose is to the ground and the tail in constant motion with his joy at being alive.
A young mother pushes a toddler in a stroller that bumps across the grassy field. The wheels make a clickety-clack sound like a train on rough tracks and the baby cries in counterpoint while the mother chatters to it in Russian.
At the shelter a group of school children enjoy a picnic while in the nearby parking lot, city workers arrive in pick-up trucks and pull out brown paper bags.
In the distance I see the spume of the lake fountain shooting high in the air to the delight of the ducks and geese bobbing tail-up in search of lunch while an old man walks by with an empty fishing pole over his shoulder.
I close my eyes and bask. The temperature is cool, the sun warm, and the air damp with the scent of fresh mown grass and just a hint of skunk. It is a day that encourages the mind to be silent and the heart content. What more could one want?
As I drink in the sun I feel its energy sinking into my skin, into my bones, its rays cleansing me from the inside out. I become a blade of grass, a leaf, a flower, head raised to the sun and feet held by earth.
The sun is the universal food, the cosmic manna. The transubstantiative power of its rays feed the plants that feed the animals that feed me. With each bite I take, I eat sun.
The same fire that burns in its blazing heart is the same fire that burns in mine; the same atomic furnace that produces its light is the same furnace found in the atoms of my being. Is it any wonder that the ancients worshipped the sun for its life-giving power? Is this why St. Francis called it Brother?
I remember stories of saints and mystics of all religions who were said to live for years without eating any food. Had they remembered how it is that plants live on light?
Now that the long nights of winter are tipping towards equilibrium, the seeds we planted on those long dreamy evenings will be breaking ground as Easter with its resurrection arrives. At the spring equinox the life-giving sun begins its climb to the zenith, and so does the Son return to remind us there is no death.