Ashes and sunlight

Just a few days ago, Ana and I ventured out with the pups completely bundled and layered. We had hats, gloves, scarves, and layers upon layers because it was snowing and icy. We shivered as we walked into -10 degrees C (about 14 degrees F). We laughed as we watched people play hockey and skate on the canal. Our husky was in husky heaven.

Just two days later and we both had to unzip our jackets and smiled into the sun at a balmy 10 degrees C (50 degrees F). Earlier today the husky and I went out on the balcony and both closed our eyes as we faced the warming sun. All of a sudden it feels as though the air holds promise of sunnier days to come when we get to expand out onto the balcony, I get to start planting seeds and plants to make our balcony plush and the days get longer with more sun.

It seems hard to believe the rapid difference in just a few days time with Ash Wednesday being the pivotal transition point yesterday.

Ash Wednesday, in the Christian calendar, is the beginning of our 40 day (minus Sundays so really like 46 day) journey to Easter. It holds promises but not before we wade through a bunch of stuff…our own and the worlds. Ana and I were just talking about how a year ago, we had no idea we would be here in this place, in this way, in this time, under strict lockdown. A year ago we were planning our trip to Switzerland in March and I was blogging away about Lenten practices out in the world. I had no idea that I still would not have been able to travel home. I still would not have been able to fulfill our plans. We are making full circles.

And yet in the midst of all of that we can go from full on winter to promises and hints of spring. It makes a difference to be able to hold our faces to a sun that is warming them. Ash Wednesday is about remembering that we are human. We are mortal beings. We are made up of ash and dirt. We someday will return to the dirt. This season we are perpetually reminded of what we have given up and our own embodiments.

What will Lent look like this time around?

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