St. Paddy’s Day is upon us along with another Winter Weather Advisory for 2-5 inches of snow. Since it’s likely the only green I’ll be seeing tomorrow will be on my shamrock scarf, I go outside this dismal afternoon to look for green.
It’s not that I expect to find the riotous bloom of tulips and daffodils. I just want signs of life. The predominant color outside appears to be dead leaf/mud brown. Show me the green. Pleeeese.
I look in the usual places.
The periwinkle hides under a brown blanket of leaves until I rake it away for instant spring.
Daffodils hide with the periwinkle. They peek up tentatively. Daylilies along the windblown and heavily plowed driveway look vulnerable to the elements as they emerge. Teeny tiny promises of the lush green to come. But so tiny and cheerless. I need more green than that.
Arborvitae is green. And holly. I decorate with them for Christmas. I don’t want to count them. That green isn’t “good enough.” I want the promise of spring.
Because I’m zooming in on one color, I spy hints of greenage in the underbrush. Oh, a vine. With thorns. I don’t like thorns.
Moss is green. We have a fair amount of moss because our yard is highly acidic and moss seems to like it better than grass does. The thing is, moss is kind of nice. It’s soft. And when the sun warms it up, it’s a lovely green. The only problem with moss is that it is not grass. But it isn’t trying to be.
Rhododendron leaves are green. They are always green. Here they sit with buds waiting for spring. Good ol’ rhododendron. Always there. Oh, now I wish I had taken their picture in the bitter cold of an ice storm when their leaves were curled in on themselves. They looked miserable then. And now I take for granted the buds that will offer glorious red blooms in May.
I’ve been reading Ann Voscamp’s One Thousand Gifts in which she takes up a friend’s dare to chronicle one thousand things she can be thankful for. My search for green parallels her search for graces. The grace that is too small. Or too hard to find. Or too ordinary. Or too thorny. But there all the same. Like the rhododendron. If one cares to look at it.
So where is the green, the sign of life? It’s all around me. It’s in the promise of spring popping up timidly from winter. It’s in the vines coursing like arteries with warming earth. It’s in the evergreens that stand faithfully through winter. It’s in the moss, covering the nakedness of the impoverished soil.
And I’m reminded of the prayer of St. Patrick, “The Breastplate of St. Patrick,” the grand prayer for God’s protection (and worth a read in its entirety, so click on the link):
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity
Through belief in the threeness
Through confession of the Oneness
Towards the creator…
Christ to protect me today…
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left
Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Green. It’s not just for Christmas. It’s not just for coloring beer. St. Paddy’s Day is a reminder to be wearin’ it…even if it snows.