Wednesday, March 30, 2011

'And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again'


A couple months ago, I started reading through C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia. I never read them as a child, though I watched all of the old movies. Like the real Lucy to whom Lewis dedicated The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (the book I am currently reading), I am now "old enough to start reading fairy tales again."  It's been very slow going, as I don't make much time for pleasure reading these days. But the moments of quiet when I have wandered into Narnia have been sweet indeed.

Last night I read Lewis' description of the coming of spring to Narnia after the long reign of the Witch.
Every moment the patches of green grew bigger and the patches of snow grew smaller. Every moment more and more of the trees shook off their robes of snow. Soon, wherever you looked, instead of white shapes you saw the dark green of firs or the black prickly branches of bare oaks and beeches and elms. Then the mist turned from white to gold and presently cleared away altogether. Shafts of delicious sunlight struck down onto the forest floor and overhead you could see a blue sky between the tree tops.

Soon there were more wonderful tings happening. Coming suddenly round a corner into a glade of silver birch trees Edmund saw the ground covered in all directions with little yellow flowers -- celandines.

The noise of water grew louder. Presently they actually crossed a stream. Beyond it they found snowdrops growing. ...

Only five minutes later (Edmund) noticed a dozen crocuses growing round the foot of an old tree -- gold and purple and white. Then came a sound even more delicious then the sound of the water. Close beside the path they were following a bird suddenly chirped from the branch of a tree. It was answered by the chuckle of another bird a little further off. And then as if that had been a signal there was chattering and chirruping in every direction, and then a moment of full song, and within five minutes the whole wood was ringing with birds' music, and wherever Edmund's eyes turned he saw birds alighting on branches, or sailing overhead or chasing one another or having their little quarrels or tidying up their feather with their beaks. ...

There was no trace of the fog now. The sky became bluer and bluer, and now there were white clouds hurrying across it from time to time. In the wide glades there were primroses. A light breeze sprang up which scattered drops of moisture from the swaying branches and carried cool, delicious scents against the faces of the travelers. The trees began to come fully alive. The larches and birches were covered with green, the laburnums with gold. Soon the beech trees had put forth their delicate, transparent leaves. As the travelers walked under them the light also became green. A bee buzzed across their path. ...

Miles away the Beavers and children were walking on hour after hour into what seemed a delicious dream. Long ago they had left the coats behind them. And by now they had even stopped saying to one another, "Look! there's a kingfisher," or "I say, bluebells!" or "What was that lovely smell?" or "Just listen to that thrush!" They walked on in a silence drinking it all in, passing through patches of warm sunlight into cool, green thickets and out again into wide mossy glades where tall elms raised the leafy roof far overhead, and then into dense masses of flowering current and among hawthorn bushes where the sweet smell was almost overpowering.

They had been just as surprised as Edmund when they saw the winter vanishing and the whole wood passing in a few hours or so from January to May. They hadn't even known for certain ... that this was what would happen when Aslan came to Narnia. (123-127)
As I read Lewis' exquisite description of life returning to a dead land, I couldn't help but wonder what it will be like when the True King of this world returns. No one knows when this will be or what trials will proceed His coming. But when He does come, I wonder if it will be something like spring returning to Narnia. Though, indeed, it will be even more glorious.
Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
the world and those who dwell in it!
Let the rivers clap their hands;
let the hills sing for joy together
before the LORD, for he comes
to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with equity.
(Psalm 98:7-9 ESV)
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.
(Isaiah 11:6-9 ESV)

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