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Renewal, wrapped in mystery

Updated: Mar 14, 2021

Easter is coming.

That definitive signal of spring and the renewal it represents. Growth, unfurling, bloom, pollination. Time to shake off the cold as we anticipate what's ahead. If only we could do that right now.

Instead, we are living in a communal state of anxiety and confusion, suspended in time as we await the "all clear" so we can resume life as we used to know it. And yet, go out for a walk to see things look normal. No hurricane, flood or wildfire has swept through leaving visible devastation. Rubble that we might sift through, rake away and rebuild.

Instead, the wreckage is in our hearts. Worry governs sleepless nights as so many wonder will they survive, can they pay bills, is another exhausting day at work endurable? We look for signs of hope in these days. Signs of renewal, that this will indeed pass.

In the undisturbed Oregon woods of my youth, springing up near a seasonal stream, we spotted a Pacific trillium. There was more than one, but so often they will appear that way, solitary. A single, perfect, three-petaled flower atop a three-leaved stem. Startling white against the dark understory of green and brown, so pure and surprising.

We were told of the trillium: enjoy but don't touch. "Do not cut these special flowers, they won't grow back for seven years!" Adding to their mystery, trilliums appear in the season of Lent and often bloom just in time for Easter. Surely it was significant that this elegant flower, so fleeting, was triune: symbolism practically made for religious myth and celebration. Nearly as remarkable, the flower wouldn't merely turn brown as it faded like most blooms, but purple. As if to say, you thought I was done with the symbolism, check this out.

Undeniable in this magical plant is that element of mystery, springing from the dark woods as it does, and the renewal it represents. It reminds us on a rainy spring ramble that indeed, the season is upon us. There is much to do, planting seeds and pruning trees, and looking ahead. And so much healing to find.

Let us find in this flower, this season, the signal we need to begin again.


Pictured: 'Wake-robin' (one of the many common names for Western Trillium) - a mosaic of glass smalti, 10"w x 12"h. This work was sold to support the Echo Mountain Arts Fund, in response to the 2020 wildfire in Otis, OR. I spoke about the fund with KOIN-TV here.


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