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Forty Days and Forty Nights

The third week of Lent has arrived, at last, and to paraphrase something I heard Sunday morning, we are in the deep of it now.

Indeed, the trudging towards Jerusalem has begun.

I wonder if, like the grass outside my window, we are all just waiting to be brushed through into spring,

though spring began in the calendar some days ago.

Wilderness Painting

The wind is sweeping away the dead leaves,

baring us to the wilderness.

The snow is melting, and we are caked in debris from the season before.

Our leaves are long since gone, lying at our feet.

The layers of ice and snow have not quite departed; damp.


Earth and dew cling like shadows to our branches and barriers.

I wonder in this wilderness if spring will ever come.

Green has not yet made its way into the trees or the plants.

It is a mirage sprouting from the tendrils of the earth.

Our roots are beginning to spread forth from the tree in trepidation; desperate.


It has been a long winter.

The wind has carried freezing rain and frost from the heavens.

We have huddled for warmth and nourishment.

Seeking the sun yet embracing the darkness.

Our white coats are shed in the heat of the sun.

Disillusioned and trembling we reach out into the open air; grasping.


Into the wilderness, we have begun wandering.

Forty days and forty nights from a mere fortnight ago.

Wind-stirring and breathtaking currents sweeping away our dew.


Have I yet been brushed back into existence?

Have I been in the wilderness long enough?

I wonder, where did the snow and rain go?

How long has this sun been scorching my flesh and this wind searing my hands?

I am parched and cannot yet begin to quench this thirst.


Forty days and forty nights.

I am long here in this Lent.

This charcoal heart has not yet begun its smoldering aching; renewed.

Lent has not yet closed, we are not yet arrived at this destiny.

My sackcloth has not kept me warm, and these ashes have not shed my mourning.

To dust I am driven, to the beginning, I am returning.


Kelsea Willis, SSJD Companion