The passage below seems fitting as the sun-drenched days of spring have finally arrived; its phrases portray a scene as lovely as the cherry blossoms that float in my yard. The verdant landscape, filled with cooing doves, blossoming trees and fragrant vines, invites a bevy of senses to bask in the delights of the season. Then there is the lover, bounding over the hills as virile as a young stag or gazelle. Full of exuberance, he imbibes the same energy that animates the countryside. He delights in his strength, and the glory of the day, but is not satisfied. For he is also enamored of a young woman. Peering through the lattice, he yearns to have her by his side. She is his darling, his beautiful one. This intoxicating day is incomplete without the companionship of the one who owns his heart. "Arise," he says. "Come with me."
This call to enter life together is winsome, alluring. It requires only that the beloved leave her bedchamber and join the lover. And as I read, I find myself strangely moved. What invitation might be offered to me today, I wonder? Living in the aftermath of the Easter story, do I continue to believe, am I still well-satisfied (to use a phrase from Julian of Norwich) that I am beloved, that my presence is longed for? And what does he offer to me today, this resurrected Christ, full of vitality and eager desire? Perhaps it is to believe that the winter is past, and come with him into the season of singing.
Listen! My lover!
Look! Here he comes,
leaping across the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Look! There he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the latice.
My lover spoke and said to me,
"Arise, my darling,
my beautiful one, and come with me.
See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land.
The fig tree forms its early fruit;
the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
my beautiful one, come with me."
Photo by Wally Harris: Spring paradise in the Galilee, Israel. Cyclamens and anemone flourish in the shade of olive trees.