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From the Song of Songs:
My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away;
11 for now the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
12 The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away.

Too early? Maybe not. I walked our delightful Canal Walk today and lo and behold the mud turtles were emerging from hibernation.

If you go to the bridge to East Millstone and walk south on the canal path, after about a third of a mile you will see to your right a marsh or swamp. It stays wet and soggy and it tells you the change of the season. First the stinky Skunk Cabbage plants push up. Then the mud turtles emerge. Then the painted turtles come out. Then the fierce some Snapping Turtles. I always yell from the walkway to the young painted turtles, “Look behind you!”

Then comes the warming of the path and the garter snakes come out and sun themselves on the path till they wake up and slither away.

Today the temperature hit the mid-sixties. You heard that right. The mid-sixties. The mud turtles came out before the skunk cabbage!

Do you know that God has an agreement with the creatures? I love that the old Bible calls them the “creeping things upon the earth.” God’s covenant extends to them. Their world is messed up – they all eat each other – because of the sin of Adam. God didn’t make it this way.

We see the goodness and glory in the best of it. God has engraved in our hearts a hankering for a restoration of the goodness and glory of it – things abiding in peace and mutual benefit.

I taste it. You taste it. This time of year it is palpable. An explosion, not of death, but of life. It is the promise. With our eyes we see it. The way God intended it.

Good. Alive. Wholesome. Linked. Tied to God’s holiness.

As the natural world awakens, I join you in praise of its Maker.

Please pray with me. “All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small. All things wise and wonderful, you, Lord God made them all. Accept the praise we offer, accept the praise we bring. We see your wonders around us. Your holiness and power we sing!. Amen.”