Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spring Cleaning

We have some beautiful Saskatoon Berry bushes on our farm. They were planted by my father-in-law quite a few years ago and right now they are in full bloom. In the Spring, their tiny white blooms are so pretty against the soft grey bark of the branches. For a few short days in the early Summer, we pick their fruit and make pies, jams, and juice. But most of the fruit goes to the birds, especially Cedar Wax Wings that come in large numbers, perching on the bushes, pecking away, until each bush is literally quivering with their movements.

I've often wondered why the bush that is known as a Saskatoon Berry in the Prairie Provinces, is called a Service Berry on the East Coast. Recently I read that the reason they are called Service Berries actually has to do with funeral services! Apparently before the invention of back-hoes when graves had to be dug by hand, if someone died during the winter their body would be temporarily interred in a crypt. Then, when the ground was thawed, there would be a second memorial service and their coffin would be buried in the earth. When the Service Berry bushes came into bloom, their delicate white flowers were a sign that the ground would be soft enough for burial services to be held, and so that is how they got their name.

It's an interesting juxtaposition of themes - death and Spring don't usually go hand-in-hand. Yet my thoughts are drawn to this idea right now because as much as Spring is a time of renewal, perhaps the renewal can only happen after a burial of sorts. After all, we do bury seeds in the ground in order for plants to spring up. And it seems like there are times when we have to purge ourselves of things that are weighing us down, holding us back, in order for space to be made in our hearts for new things. Right now it seems that there are things in my heart that need to be purged: old attitudes to be exchanged for new ones, hurts that have been festering that need to be released, dusty areas in the corners of my soul that need some Spring cleaning! Just as my body is craving spring salads, the kinds of greens that are known to clean sluggish blood, so my soul is craving fresh nourishment that will clear my heart and mind of sluggish thoughts and negative attitudes.

I buried my face in a bouquet of Service Berry blossoms today and had a brief service of my own. It was a private service between me and God, laying to rest things that need to be left behind. Now I look forward to embracing the new - filling my heart with the fresh greens of Spring. It will be interesting to see what new things come in to occupy the newly-made spaces in my heart.

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