Before I moved to Vermont in 1987, my soon-to-be husband shocked me by quoting T.S Eliot’s opening line of The Wasteland: “April is the cruelest month." As a southerner, I couldn’t comprehend this. “How can you say that? April is lovely!” I argued, envisioning Carolina springs, dogwoods and redbuds in bloom, daffodils dotting every yard, the scent of blossoms everywhere.

After 35 years in Vermont though, I completely understand. Eliot, of course, referred to both the English climate and the human condition. Today while I write, songbirds whistle outside, the geese honk overhead returning to their summer breeding grounds. But this past week, we had snow – again.  Tomorrow bluebird skies return.  Plants send up their hopeful shoots, unaware of the killing frost threatening tomorrow. Honestly, it’s insulting to have to grab the snow shovel yet again. I do NOT agree with this!

I also disagree with much else going on in our world. The horrific wars in Ukraine, Ethiopia, Yemen. The strangling of the planet. The resurgence of white supremacy within our nation, the ongoing brutalization of people of color, calls to ban books and stifle dissent, efforts to legally marginalize the LGBTQ community. These deserve our full attention and action if we care at all about justice and living our faith.

Yet spring reminds me that rebirth and healing are messy matters. The season asks me to trust the unseen – especially that over which I have no control. To believe that Grace is quietly surging in our gardens (and in our lives and the world) even when buried once more by storm. And most of all, to love and bless. This is hard to do. I’m helped if I can see what St. Paul’s Nancy Bloomer sees when she looks at her garden:

God bless every living thing that grows, crawls, and flies in my garden.
Every still thing that waits for the light or who nests in leaves.
Every dark, dirt encrusted being, every lovely flower and bush,
Every God-created life that busies itself with ardor in works of embodied existence.
I don’t know much, but I know this,
As I round the final bend in the road:
Everything is precious. Everything is gift,
Everything deserves attention and love.
Nancy reminds me that my “approval” – of the weather or anything else - is inconsequential. The world doesn’t run according to Kate! Instead I consider these final lines from W.H Auden’s poem Precious Five:
I could (which you cannot)
Find reasons fast enough
To face the sky and roar
In anger and despair
At what is going on,
Demanding that it name
Whoever is to blame:
The sky would only wait
Till all my breath was gone
And then reiterate
As if I wasn't there
That singular command
I do not understand,
Bless what there is for being,
Which has to be obeyed, for
What else am I made for,
Agreeing or disagreeing?

-- Kate Maynard

The Right Rev. Shannon MacVean-Brown, Bishop of Vermont

The Very Rev. Greta Getlein, Dean and Rector

The Ven. J. Stannard Baker, Cathedral Deacon and Diocesan Archdeacon

Mark A. DeW. Howe, Canon Precentor and Director of Music

Jennifer C. Sumner, Office Administrator

Barbara F. Comeau, Financial Administrator

Katie Gonyaw, Children's Formation Coordinator

Grace Jack, A/V & Social Media Coordinator