Friday, April 1, 2011
This morning I read the entry for March 25 in "All Saints" by Robert Ellsberg, on St. Margaret Clitherow: a Catholic Englishwoman martyred in 1586 under the penal laws of Queen Elizabeth, a death by pressing: "The sentence required that she be stripped naked for execution...she was placed on a sharp stone with a board laid over her on which steadily increasing weights were applied. She endured this punishment for only fifteen minutes before her ribs were shattered."
A late spring. I read in my records that at this time last year it was sixty-five degrees and snowless and I was digging garden beds. This year there is still a foot and a half of snow on my beds and we are heading into new storm, though seems like a bust so far - the earth has begun warming, irretractably.
Sitting on a stone in this week's rites, I was held at bud-point by a long arm of beech tree, and saw below me daggers of daffodil blades piercing and erupting through the dry carpet of last year's leaves. I pulled the mat open to reveal more hidden sproutings and the rich soil, composed completely of earthworm casings - precious nuggets-jewels of soil. This undergirding, slithering, supports us, saints below - the worms, the worms, the worms! pressing their way with soft tenacious tips in a vast substrate.