I stepped out my door yesterday evening to find a sky of the gentlest, most kindly gray imaginable, every edge and angle softened by a pale, pearled light. Come sunset though, that mild sky had leapt up into a wildly riotous shout of color, the sharp black outlines of the pines at the end of our street standing in lightning strike contrast to the fiery orange and white hot pink burning behind them.
And just like that (calendar say what it may), it was Summer again. Today, popsicles were eaten hurriedly before dripping to the hot pavement, a water gun fight was fought with all the fierceness of a winter’s worth of pent up energy, and what promises to be a really delightful fantasy novel was set aside in expectation of a few late summer night’s forays into Faerie. The beat of a basketball echoed down our alley. A regular cavalcade of Cabbage White butterflies passed by. All was bright white and blue overhead, clouds piled up high into great, gratuitous heaps, their ever expanding size promising thunder as the day wore on. Everything seemed to be tripping over the feet of everything else as grass and bird and sunlight all burst their seams in bloom.
The whole thing was a picture of life pitched to such intensity and extravagance-one of those moments in which I was reminded afresh that the solemn, astringent portrait we so often paint of God is perhaps not nearly the truth. After all- it was “life, and life more abundantly” that Christ said he came to bring. And yet we sometimes act as if abundance, extravagance were less holy than a more sere state of affairs; linking God with a state of constant austerity, as if sedateness and a tight fist were an intrinsic part of his being. Certainly, there’s a time and place for solemnity and even sparsity. That simply cannot be all there is to the story, though. Not with the roses blooming in such an absurdly excessive way across the street. Not with Summer evenings in which the trees are so drenched in golden hour light as to be fairly dripping.
That thunder came along with the stars after all- crashing and clapping and setting the world off into a state of merry raucousness. The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins once called the weather “news from God”. And in looking around myself, as the trees clapped their hands and the clouds whirled about fast and faster, I was inclined to grin and agree with him.Featured image by wirestock