Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - November 30

On the Threshold of a Hard Winter

All day it has been deceptively like spring. Not only because of light and cool-warm air (warm with a slightly biting March-like wind) but because I fasted and it felt like Lent. Then in the evening (I had my meal about four instead of supper at five) it was suddenly much lighter, as thought it were March.

At noon, when I was not eating, I was out by St. Bernard's lake (which is surprisingly low) and the sky, hills, trees, kept taking on an air of clarity and freshness that took me back to springs twenty years ago when Lents were hard and I was new in the monastery.

Strange feeling! Recapturing the freshness of those days when my whole monastic life was ahead of me, when all was still open: but now it is all behind me, and the years have closed in upon their silly, unsatisfactory history, one by one. But the air is like spring and fresh as ever. And I was amazed at it. Had to stop to gaze and wonder: loblolly pines we planted ten or fifteen years ago are twenty feet high. The first tower shines in the sun like new--though it was up ten years ago (with what hopes, on my part!). Flashing water of the lake. A blue jay flying down as bright as metal. I went over to the wood where the Jonathan Daniel sculptures are now, and read some selections from Origen. And again stood amazed at the quiet, the bright sun, the spring-like light. The sharp outline of the pasture. Knolls, the brightness of bare trees in the hopeful sun. And yet it is not spring. We are the threshold of a hard winter.

November 25, 1967, VII.15

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