A robin blows his urgent whistle like a Cracker Jack toy, "Wake up, Wake up, the light has returned,'' and so it begins: God's greatest masterpiece, a spring morning.
It can dawn in mist, shrouded behind a veil like the face of a bride, or crackle with sunshine that sparkles like the eyes of a happy child. Sometimes it tiptoes into the bedroom and tugs our sleeve. Other days it crashes into the room in a splash of bright yellow cymbals.
No painting in any museum can match it. No sculpture compares. No symphony can thrill us like the overture of springtime.
In the opening notes, the grass sheds its gray and brown winter jacket and emerges in a deep jade green so rich you can almost hear it grow like the sound of a bass fiddle played with a bow.
The daffodils rise to their feet in crowded clusters and blow their little cornets while the birds play soft flutes and woodwinds in the trees.
On a morning like this, the smell of fresh-cut grass and flowering trees on the breeze is like catnip that makes us want to run and leap and curl our stretched toes deep in the lawn. We want to lie in the grass and drink up the soft sun that rubs a loving hand through our hair. We want to lie back and close our eyes and just listen to the symphony of God's music that surrounds us. Each day is a separate masterpiece, completely different, never to be duplicated or repeated.
Springtime in the Arizona desert is stealthy and subtle like a flirting smile. The palo verde trees that have no leaves turn yellow in their best imitation of a forsythia. Sage and cactus on the desert floor turn a bewitching color of dusty grayish green, and laurel fills the air with the clean, fresh incense of heaven itself.
But spring is fleeting and muted in the desert. Here in Ohio, it's a full-season concert, played fortissimo.
In the dark scribble of mist-shrouded black tree trunks and limbs, the gangly redbud in lavender tights does its ballet in the forest.
Old lady magnolias in their pink and white splashy housedresses fill the air with a flowery sweet cologne like a grandmother's hug.
Flowering crab trees get as fat and fluffy as long-haired cats.
Tulips spring up with reds and yellows so true they would embarrass the oils on Van Gogh's palette.
And the soft chalky pastels of Easter eggs hide in the grass like secret messages to remind us what it's all about. Rebirth. Renewal.
It is entirely possible to enjoy spring and never pause to consider how God's music tells us a story about his Son.
We can look at the tulips, and never see the blood-red cup that was passed from lip to lip on Passover.
We can smile at the playful daffodils and never see the gold trumpets that announced, "He is Risen!''
We can see the beauty all around us, and never imagine the creator who made it all and loves us enough to bring us the miracle of new life after a cold, sterile, colorless coma of winter.
We can see a trilling stream and feel the gentle caress of spring rain and never stop to think about the living water that God wants us to drink for refreshment and joy.
But it's like looking at a great painting and seeing only dots and dabs of dried paint.
It's the difference between a rhyme and great poetry.
It's the difference between a headline and the story God tells in the beauty all around us.
Each spring morning is a renewal of His love that lights the world.
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