construct (from com - together, and struere - to arrange, build; hence, to arrange together) 1. to put together the parts in their proper place and order; 2. to devise and put into orderly arrangement; to form by the mind; originate or invent; 3. to draw (figure, plan, sketch) to meet certain requirements.
March did not come in like a lion this year. The snow melted off in a matter of days, and I noticed an unusual sight for so early in the year. There in my front yard was a crocus, three inches tall, heaving itself up out of its winter cradle. I had been expectantly waiting for months to see this herald of spring, and in my excitement I mentioned it to a friend. Hardly had the words left my mouth before she bounded out of the house to share in this miracle. A few minutes later, I told an old man who had sat down to eat, and as if I'd cast a spell on him, he leapt up and began peeking out the windows, fascinated by the spectacle.
Why is it that this little green sprig evokes such an appreciation in the young and old alike? You must know what I mean. Did you have the same thing happen to you this year? No matter how long you've lived, and how many times you've seen it year after year, you can't resist this inborn wonder. Everyone stoops down, as if in reverence, to acknowledge this little plant that somehow enchants the whole human race.
But really, the annual appearance of this flower signifies something much greater, something so big that we can't really grasp it. It marks the return of the earth to a specific point in the solar system in its 365-day trek around the sun. This might not seem so long to us, but if we realized the rocket-like speed we travel to accomplish this distance in this amount of time it would literally take our breath away. We hardly think of it this way, though. Being such little people in a large world we don't walk around aware of the momentous forces that are at work, balancing and perpetuating one another. What we've been given to notice are the things small like us, such as the crocus. These powers have been masterfully woven together, thoughtfully and with precise care. Certainly creation is a delicate construction.
Let me try to paint you a picture of what I know about these invisible forces. It will probably turn out to be more like a finger-painting, knowing that the details of creation are unsearchably vast.
Starting with the sun, it jars one to think that if the earth were an inch further or closer to it (proportionally speaking) then everything would perish. All life would freeze instantly like statues, or vaporize without a trace. Yet here we are, perfectly set on some unseen track around the sun and have been for countless years, somewhat like an acrobat walking a tightrope without a net underneath him.
The sun warms the air, but here we're talking about all at once in massive global quantities. From the equator to the poles and back down again, fearfully powerful streams of atmosphere that we only detect as a soothing and pleasant breeze have been set in unyielding motion, carrying the dandelion seed, giving graceful flight to the birds, ushering in the spring rains.
Without the wind to carry moisture, all the rainfall would dump right back into its point of origin, the ocean, and the land would be as dry as a cracker. Incapable of birthing any life, the landscape would be a still and silent nothingness. Fortunately, the wind carries rain to us for our crops as if it was always considering our need. So the sun revisits day after day, recalling the dew from the fields and delivering it on the wind back to the ocean again in its perpetual cycle.
The atmosphere is astounding. The wind churns and mixes it like a special brine that all of earth's life borrows from. The right proportions of gases not only give us our vital breath, but also blanket the entire planet, capturing its warmth until the sun emerges again just in time before things cool off too much.
We owe the timely reappearance of the sun to the rotation of the planet. Who is it anyway that set the well-calculated spin on the earth? If it were too fast would it fling us off like a slingshot or knock everything down? It's remarkable, the perfect size of the planet. Its density keeps it rolling along, but also swaddles the gaseous atmosphere to itself by the force called gravity. It gently holds all things to its surface, which if it were a little different we would all be flat ... or nowhere to be found.
And, of course, earth's gravity is affected by the moon. It exerts its own pull powerful enough to make the earth slightly bulge like a water balloon, being that our planet's innards are made up of a unfathomable depth of molten putty.
Now consider the ground you securely walk around on. It's just a shell like that of an egg, suspended on this unstable substance. Yet, all this violent pushing and pulling doesn't break it all to pieces. This crust, aside from the flight of birds and the dives of fish, houses a thin veneer of life, teeming and swarming with several millions of plant and animal species. All of them are affected in their habits and attitudes by these forces that balance and harmonize each other and life as we know it.
As unnerving as these forces beyond our control may seem, we live our short lives in trust. Most of us only experience a certain gentleness in nature. We take it for granted. Granted by Whom?
The fury of the sun we behold as royally colored sunsets, and its terrible flames we feel as its morning rays caressing our skin; witnessing the Creator's warmth and affection.
The moon's mighty grip we comprehend as the crashing of the ocean waves. Seeming so aggressive, yet once they've pounced upon the shore they shyly slide back into the deep. Although loud and strong, we never feel threatened by the tides. A witness of the Creator's strength, but gentleness toward us.
We experience the earth barreling around the sun as the gradual change of seasons: the leaves changing color, the snow muffling the sleeping ground, the streams swollen from the spring thaw, and once again, the crocus lifting itself up from a long slumber. That flower, so small, but a sign of the working of great and marvelous things. A sign everyone can read, no matter what language one speaks, literate or not. So listen to what it's saying. It's beckoning you to take notice, not of itself, but of Him who is aware of something far more powerful, and far greater, and far more important than all of these things. He's aware of you.