Nature's Easter message

By By Otha Barham
March 29, 2002
Deep inside the doe's body lie twin fawns, nearing their birthday, but for now suspended in total darkness. Their mother feeds for the three of them on juicy buds here in the moonlight.
On the side of a steep ridge, a dogwood tree towers upward toward the sky from the dark earth. It waits in the blackness with its roots holding tightly to its life source beneath decomposing leaves. Its quest for light has made it tall and straight. But it is cold here in the night, and even its outermost buds lie dormant; waiting…waiting.
In the cold stream, a sunfish finds a shallow run next to a sunken log. She is heavy with eggs of hundreds of her kind. She is looking in the dark water for just the right spot to nurture her young.
Beneath a huge boulder on the south-facing slope is a deep cave, the entrance to which is covered with dead brush. The big black bear lies asleep hibernation taking hold intermittently. Her two cubs, no bigger than cottontails, nurse at will. They are warm and still, nestled in the leaves with which the mother lined the burrow.
On an open knoll nearby a white oak acorn lies covered with pine straw and persimmon leaves. A crow dropped it here, almost a mile from its mother tree.
Near the little stream in the swamp, a deep deer track is filled with rainwater. The stained water is cold, having only a few weeks ago transformed from a frozen existence.
Special day
A special day arrives. Night is gradually erased by a brilliant sunrise. The morning light brings its warmth and revealing illumination. The fawns emerge from their mother's body, their senses now testing the beauty of the earth for the first time. The doe browses stems and new grass and feels her body heal and strengthen. Soon she will see her fawns flying through the woods, leaping and prancing like ballerinas.
The dogwood shows a brilliant white bloom, and then another and another. Its uppermost limbs reach higher and higher toward the lighted sky above, like outstretched arms draped in a white robe. The sunfish swirls around a bed of eggs, keeping them protected – these tiny spheres of procreation which begin their metamorphosis in the water, now warmed by the sun. They will one day swim away in the current and disperse yellow beauty in their watery world.
The three bears stumble out of the den and feel the sun's warmth sink through their black fur. The mother will teach and the cubs will learn. Together they will lick honey from wild bee trees, catch fish in the creek's overflow pools and lie in the gleaming sun with no fear of wild enemies in their swamp paradise.
The acorn warms and swells and splits and sends out one tiny rootlet, which gently wends its way downward into the soil. Tiny cells form magically into two leaves which absorb the sunlight. They use the sun's energy to make food from nutrients supplied by the root. The food nourishes first a small sprout, and then a sapling and then a tree – a tree more beautiful than poetry.
Subtle miracles
The bit of water in the deer track warms and takes on visiting life forms mosquito larvae hatch and the six legged flyers flutter away to appointed duties. A couple of frog eggs have hatched and the amphibian pair sit nearby contemplating their new life and deciding who will sing bass and who will sing soprano.
The tiny reservoir holds in its form a thousand microscopic animals and plants. When the rains come, it moves from this place, first in tiny rivulets, mixing slowly with the new sky water, and then on to torrents downstream. Water from the deer track spreads the minute treasures it nurtured to those higher in the food chain; plankton to minnows, minerals to distant fields, a tiny bit of oxygen to the vast supply required by submerged life forms.
The individuals of the outdoors illustrate for us this awakening to new life; this art which is painted before our very eyes; this play with a thousand characters acting out a single theme; new life. It is Easter!
Darkness to light. Death to life. Beautiful.
(Note: This essay was adapted from Otha Barham's book, "Here Where We Belong," available from Old Ben Publications, 3100 38th Street, Meridian, MS 39305. Cost is $11.22 plus $1.85 shipping. Mississippi residents add $0.78 tax.)

News

Roxy holds annual W.C. Handy’s Evening at the Roxy Great Pretenders Show

Franklin County

Distinguished Young Women deadline approaches

College Sports

NWSCC adds volleyball to growing Patriot athletics program

News

Russellville Parks and Rec adult softball league grows interest

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Thomas Randall Miller

Franklin County

Community Spirit Bank announces promotion

Franklin County

Police search underway for man wanted in three states

Franklin County

Local students earn collegiate honors

East Franklin

PHOTOS: East Franklin Junior High awards honors

News

Traveling band makes stop at Phil Campbell High School

News

Russellville Parks and Rec holds adult sandlot softball game

Galleries

PHOTOS: Community celebrates Fourth of July with annual Jam on Sloss Lake

News

Second Canadian Phil greeted by town

Franklin County

Franklin County Schools lead nurse school nurse named administrator of the year

News

Former Russellville resident performs in ‘Miracle Worker’

Galleries

PHOTOS: Russellville, Red Bay public libraries enjoy summer reading program events

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight: Robbie Richardson

News

University of Mississippi announces spring Chancellor’s Honor Roll

News

PHOTOS: Community turns out for Phil Campbell Festival

Franklin County

University of Alabama announces spring graduates

Franklin County

Dean’s, president’s lists students named for UA spring term

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Hugh Plott

Galleries

PHOTOS: Inaugural downtown Russellville Art Crawl winners

Galleries

PHOTOS: Russellville Public Library holds princess, pirates bounce party

x