Lay me down in wildflowers—the harbingers of spring.
Every year, no matter how hard or cold it gets in winter, flowers rise. Around the hackberry tree that fell during last year’s storms, the violets have rebounded. Now Spring Beauties are blushing in morning dew. Dutchmen’s Britches’ fringed leaves are dancing in the slightest breeze. Trout Lilies are genuflecting at sunset.
The roots of flowers lead back to Eve’s mother. Their distant cousins were witnesses in the garden on Easter morning. Wildflowers are the remnants of the past that point towards new life.
Lay all who are weary down in wildflowers that make a soft bed of prayers to rest tired heads.
Jesus lay in a garden as Magdalene searched in the pale light of dawn with a grieving soul. Wild lilies greeted the women as they set out. Carrying spices along with fear, I wonder if Magdalene looked down long enough to see flowers as a remnant of hope in the midst of death.
I wonder if she remembered Jesus’ words on their first mission, “Don’t worry about your life. Consider the lilies and how they neither toil nor spin, yet even Solomon in all his glory is not arrayed like one of these.” In the fragrance of fertile greens, she reached the tomb finding discarded shrouds, and proclaimed the good news, “He is risen.”
Lay all the survivors of trauma in wildflowers, where paper-thin lavender is more valuable than 30 pieces of silver.
Wildflower fields in Tennessee and gardens in Jerusalem are endowed with sacred worth. The annual spring parade through barren fields reminds us we endure and bloom again after 70 times 7. By laying flowers on altars and at memorials for those who have died because of Covid, addiction, and oppression, we find strength.
Even in death, the beauty of a wild Iris invites a peace that passes understanding.
Lay all the people with broken hearts down in wildflowers, where tenderness is a sign of strength.
Lovers and mourners leave tear-stained flowers on graves, not because they are weak, but because they are strong enough to love. No one should take those sacred tender moments standing up.
Lay all those who want to create in wildflowers, for sweet inspiration from the stale air of pandemics and politics.
In beds of blossoms, the spirit resides like pollen on petals. Sometimes we can’t fathom a new thought because we have walked for so long on scorched earth that clouded our vision and shortened our breath.
A deep inhalation among flowers invites wild ideas.
Lay us down with grace so we can be inspired, tender, soft, enduring and feel the sacred and imperishable truth of resurrection.
We have grieved for people we have loved. Magdalene knew grief, yet those pains did not outweigh her longing for love that carried her to the tomb.
I have known grief my whole life. I believe inside each of us love is as abundant as wildflowers that split apart the grip death holds over us like fresh shoots through buried bulbs. We long to hope like wildflowers long to bloom, like Magdalene longs to find her beloved Lord.
Just like we know how to grieve, we know how to love beyond death.
I walked this spring in the Conservation Cemetery by Taylor Hollow. There is a rare wildflower that grows there among the graves called blue-eyed Mary. I have wondered who Mary was and who loved her enough to name this small, ephemeral vision in her honor.
I imagine a companion whose knees buckled with grief until they lay down in wildflowers and were caught by the flower’s sweet laughing petals that felt like an invitation to feel Mary’s love rising.
Lay us down in wildflowers and breathe in the knowledge that even though these spring beauties pass in a moment, they return despite drought, floods, and grief.
What seems dead rises in splendor. When we follow in the footsteps of Magdalene, we can lie among the wildflowers with no burdens. The stone has rolled and all those who have died live in the memory of God. We have endured winters over hard and hallowed ground.
We can lie down every spring until our own Easter morning with the song, “Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.”
Peace and love,
— Becca Stevens
Photo Credits: Larkspur Conservation, a natural burial and preserve, located in Tennessee, on which Becca serves as Board Chair.