Here in California, as we enter another spring after another winter of drought, signs of life are nonetheless around us.
Surprise: the plants still grow. Surprise: leaves are coated in beaded condensation in the morning. Surprise: snowmelt trickles down the mountains, through the valleys, and into urban creeks that creep underground, in cities where life looks flat and concrete-coated. This is Mary’s surprise, the startling, flashing revelation of unexpected life. “May it be done to me.”
By June, the hills will no longer be green; they will be golden. Wildfires will come; the hills will be scarred black and brown. We will ration what little water we have, for the sake of what surrounds us, and for one another. We will drink and be aware of the life it gives us. We will give up, in order to give. “May it be done to me.”
- When has nature taken you by surprise?
- What, in the natural world, do you most often take for granted, and how can you be more attentive to it?
Kaya Oakes teaches writing at UC Berkeley. Her fourth book, on seeking, doubt, faith and “Nones,” will be published by Orbis Books in 2015. She is a contributing writer to America Magazine, Commonweal, and the National Catholic Reporter, and a contributing editor and writer at the website Killing the Buddha.
Kaya Oakes is the author of four books. She teaches nonfiction writing at UC Berkeley and her essays and journalism have appeared in America, Commonweal, Slate, The New Republic, Foreign Policy, Sojourners, and many other places.