Monday, March 10, 2003

Here is the view from the barnyard Saturday morning as the thaw began; snow disappearing on the southern and eastern slopes, hanging on to the hills looking north:

This past weekend saw a rise in temperatures into the fifties. The snow piled in the barnyard Saturday morning vanished by Sunday afternoon, seeping into the once frozen soil and leaving a kind of brown soup in its place. There is still snow visible on a few north facing slopes and on the mountain sides, but it is increasingly becoming a memory instead of a present obstacle. Looking around the barnyard, it comes as a surprise to see the odd pocket of white hidden here and there by an overhang or bit of shade. I thought of quoting Robert Frost's "A Hillside Thaw" in honor of the occasion. Instead, the following Frost poem seemed more appropriate:

A Patch of Old Snow

There's a patch of old snow in a corner
That I should have guessed
Was a blow-away paper the rain
Had brought to rest.

It is speckled with grime as if
Small print overspread it,
The news of a day I've forgotten--
If I ever read it
It is rightly said that Orthodoxy is a Church that celebrates the resurrection like no other. What is often overlooked is that the great outpouring of joy in the Paschal services is built upon weeks of struggle and preparation during the Great Fast of Lent. It is a season set aside for repentance, for facing down all that hinders us as we journey to meet the Risen Lord. Accordingly, the services for Lent contain some of the richest treasures of Orthodox theology and spirituality. The webmaster at has put together a page of Resources for Great Lent which is an excellent place to start. He provides a calendar, selected texts and links to useful commentary on the major commemorations throughout the season. There are several places on-line with selections from the rich liturgical material in the Lenten Triodian (the service book that carries us through to Pascha.) The nuns at Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery post a daily selection from the Lenten Triodian at their website. Archmandrite Ephraim of the Monastery of Saint Andrew in England has translated some of the services and provided them on his website here. As always, David Melling's Arimathea website provides thoughtful material and links for the season.