Lord, there are creatures in the understory,
snails with whorled backs and silver boots,
trails beetles weave in grass, black rivers
of ants, unbound ladybugs opening their wings,
spotted veils and flame, untamed choirs
of banjo-colored crickets and stained-glass cicadas.
Lord, how shall we count the snakes and frogs
and moths? How shall we love the hidden
and small? Mushrooms beneath leaves
constructing their death domes in silence,
their silken gills and mycelial threads, cap scales
and patches, their warts and pores. And the buried
bulbs that will bloom in spring, pregnant with flower
and leaf, sing Prepare for My Radiance, Prepare
for the Pageantry of My Inevitable Surprise.
These are the queendoms, the spines and horns,
the clustered hearts beating beneath our feet. Lord
though the earth is locked in irons of ice and snow
there are angels in the undergrowth, praise them.
~ Dorianne Laux
Someone once described Christian life as living with one foot in Good Friday, the other in Easter Sunday. With Dorianne Laux, we can convey the same idea this way: one foot “locked in irons of ice and snow,” and the other anticipating “the Pageantry of My Inevitable Surprise,” the beauty of spring. And wherever we stand within the steps of this seasonal choreography, Laux invites us to think small, to “love the hidden,” and to listen for the “hearts beating beneath our feet.”
Here at SALT we recently learned that the life cycle of a firefly includes larvae that spend the fall, winter, and spring underground, glimmering with a tiny flicker of bioluminescent light (that’s right! the larvae glow!) before they emerge and adorn the summer nights. Angels in the undergrowth, indeed!