Sunday, April 12, 2009

Squirrels and Nuts and Life

Aww, isn't he cute!

And this one, having a snack on a park bench.

We have a lot of squirrels in our area. Not just the greys, we have the red ones too. They are everywhere. The grey ones don't bother me so much. But those red ones, boy, they sure can they be mean. They are smaller than the greys - yet chase them out of their territory. No, I do not like the red squirrels, especially when they think their territory is inside my attic, but that is a whole other story.

I want to get back to the squirrel on the park bench. He is having a little snack. Yeah ... he is cute! He is much like my sons, and doesn't pick up after himself. How do I know? I went to check out the area after he had finished his lunch and found this ...

The remains of a black walnut. These things start off as big green balls on the trees. As the summer turns to fall and the wind begins to blow, we hear them dropping on the roof of our house, on our wooden deck and even the driveway. They make a very distinct PLOP! noise as they fall. They are especially loud in the middle of the night, when they fall on the porch roof, right outside my window! My husband makes a great effort to go out and pick them up to dispose of them, but you have to be careful, they have this inky gook inside them that stains your hands if you get it on you.

As fall gets closer to winter, these green balls begin to shrivel and we start finding them, under chairs, in corners on the deck, even in the planters. You have heard of hiding in plain sight? Well the squirrels are not too bright. They do have enough sense to store their food for the winter, but oh, the places we find these black walnuts. Okay ... let's fast forward to Spring and those leavings.

It is pretty cool when you seen them up close. The meat inside is completely gone. You'd think the squirrel had a straw! Completely cleaned out. I guess that is why they have those sharp and tiny teeth. It is pretty neat. It is so dead looking. These black walnuts are actually the 'seeds' of the black walnut trees. If one of those green balls doesn't get picked up, and if the squirrel forgets where he hid one, those dead seeds spring back to life. Kind of like this one ...

No, this is not a black walnut. It is a chestnut. We didn't even know we had chestnut trees in our neighborhood, but we must. A sweet, dear, little squirrel must have hid one of these baby's and then forgot about it. Cause guess what ... that dead nut came back to life.

I guess that is why I love Spring so much. In the winter we all hibernate from the cold. All the life outside leaves. No leaves on the trees, my pink cone flowers die and the birds eat the seeds while scattering some. But then comes the Spring. All of those seeds that were dead, now burst forth with life and bring beauty and sweet fragrances to the earth once again.

It is only perfect then, that we celebrate Resurrection Sunday in Spring. Christ died and was buried. He was gone. No life in Him. Then he rose from the dead bursting forth with beauty and promise for the world.

Remember the parable of the wheat seed? John 12:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
And so in order for us to bear fruit for the Kingdom of God, we too must die, but it is our sinful nature that dies. Galatians 2:20 comes to mind, I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

I hope I haven't made a mess of what I am trying to say. This morning as we reflect on the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord, I hope the season of Spring that surrounds you, is a potent reminder of the abundant life God has waiting for us, when we surrender ourselves completely to Him.

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