“If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light!” Jesus
Happy Easter! I am not sure why this is my Easter image this year. I admit it is abstract, and visually challenging (what is it?). But it is also full of life…full of mystery…full of grace and wonder. It is also highly unlikely. It is a super thin patch of floating ice on a pond along Route 9 in Kennebunk Maine. It was above 40 and had been for several hours when I found it, and this pond has been open for weeks, so I was not expecting ice at all. And the sweeping feather like patterns are more like rime ice on a car window than anything I have seen on the surface of water. And then there are the straight lines, the pattern of triangles among the feathers, like the leading in a stained glass window. And it is so thin, so fragile, so unlikely. Altogether strange and wonderful. It challenges my understanding of what is physically possible.
Then you add the colors of the reflected sky and clouds and trees and it really comes alive. It becomes not just an image of floating ice, but a image in its own right, containing a beauty of its own. Looking at it is almost meditative…it puts my mind into a state of open wonder and receptivity…and something very like peace. Something very like hope. Something very like joy. And so, after all, it is not so strange a choice for Easter Sunday!
What is more unlikely than the resurrection? More challenging to our sense of what is possible? More full of grace and wonder? What greater source of hope and joy?
He is risen. Against all odds. Against every expectation. He is risen and with him hope and joy. And though 2000 years of Christian history have not always given testimony to his truth, yet his truth lives on, and is there to be received by every generous eye. Unlikely as rime ice on open water. Unlikely as perfect triangles in floating ice. And more beautiful than the reflected colors of sky and cloud and trees. Jesus is risen! He lives. He lives in me.
I went to the store yesterday, at least in part, to buy an Easter Lily. I take the celebration of Easter seriously, with great joy! The resurrection of Jesus, and his living presence in us and among us is the core of my faith. Our traditional Easter Lilies generally catch an aspect of what I feel, but this year, their big showy trumpets just did not appeal. I think our local grocery giant may have ordered in the super-giant variety on the theory that if big showy lilies are good at Easter, bigger showy lilies would be better. Very American! I was, however, attracted to the smaller Calla Lilies they also had on display, and bought one to take home.
Part of the plan all along had been to photograph the lily for my Easter post, and I took it, with a black fleece jacket for background, out on the newly swept back deck for a session. The sun was at an interesting angle, there were half a dozen blooms in various stages, and I took a lot of exposures, from all angles, and processed the best.
It was only after processing the images that I thought to look up the Calla Lily and find out what I had brought home. It turns out (but many of you already knew this) that the Calla Lily is also known as the Easter Lily, especially in Britain and Ireland. In Ireland it is also associated with the fight for independence, a memorial to those who died in, and as a result of, the Easter Rising of 1916.
For me, the attraction was the quiet, but totally self-assured, grace of the blooms…and in this variety, the subtle shades of the rich royal purple. These images, I hope, catch just that.
Right now, the Calla Lily speaks to my faith more than the showy trumpets. I’d like to think of my faith that way. Quiet, totally assured, and full of grace. Approachable as the Calla Lily, and, in its own right, just as rich and beautiful. At least that is how I see it on this Easter Morning, as I watch the sunrise behind the trees of the back yard, and let the joy fill me!