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February 16, 2004
This is that fraudulent time of year, when a day or two in succession lulls you into thinking it's over, and then the temperature plummets again. The people of Tennessee are digging out this morning -- I think there are flowers already in bloom at this time of year in Tennessee. Now they're covered with snow.

Our crocuses are up, too, a few of them here and there --not in bloom, of course, but the little spikes of their leaves are above the hard surface of the cold ground. The arching branches of the forsythia swell with the buds of its flowers -- time to bring in a few for indoor bloom. Do you think we'll have another snow? I asked Q as we drove home form Pennsylvania yesterday. The sky was blue and lovely, the sun was out, the clouds were white and fluffy: a perfect day. But it was already getting colder. I switched on the computer when we got home, to look at the weather, and there were the cartoon clouds with cartoon snowflakes pouring out of them. This morning it's fourteen degrees. Damn.

If Lent would hurry up and come, we'd be closer to Easter. I am writing a book of meditations for the Daily Office these days, and cursing the superimposition of the lunar year upon the solar one as I go: as far as writing this thing goes, there are way more than 365 days in the year. You have to cover all the way to Epiphany VII-and-a-half, even if you know you're hardly ever going to use that much Epiphany, and the long green season of Pentecost is much longer than it is green, twenty-nine weeks worth, even though you hardly ever use the early weeks. Many scented candles are needed in my office in order to accomplish this feat, box after box, with generous stern helpings of self-coaching, so that the little essays won't be as whiny as I feel. It is not the fault of the reader that the year is long and the essays are many.

After all, it is a shared effort. The prayer of the Daily Office is shared prayer, whether you are doing it in company, at school, in your parish or in your warm house. Whether you are in Florida and sitting in your garden in the early morning hours, before the sun gets so hot you don't want to be outside, or in Tennessee where it wasn't supposed to snow but did. The prayer of the Daily Office is on behalf of everyone else, of those who pray and those who don't, of those so painfully in need that they feel no prayers left inside them. Of those who have never prayed, and never will. Of those for whom the time flies by, too short to hold all that must be done, and those for whom it drags unbearably from day to eternal day. Of those who struggle against a deadline and those who wish they had one. Beloved of God, we are. I am. You are. All of us.

Bless your day. May you accomplish in it all that is needful, and may God bless the remainder, so that you don't torture yourself with it when it's time to rest.
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