“A single crocus blossom ought to be enough to convince our heart that springtime, no matter how predictable, is somehow a gift …” —David Steindl-Rast
Have you, too, been watching your crocus bed like basketball bracketology? As if tiny blossoms guarantee your team achieves NCAA basketball glory?
While not everyone pairs crocuses and basketball, this Hoosier always will.
Blizzards may morph the combination into a reluctant threesome. Benedictine monk Steindl-Rast’s quote above resonates with me. Yet, Indiana inhabitants understand our March is as fickle as a referee’s calls.
Still, when crocuses, tough little optimists, push through snow, I want to turn somersaults. Although I prefer not to spend spring in a body cast.
Perhaps ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Minoans also had to resist somersault temptation, as they loved crocuses. The Romans gave us their name, derived from the Latin adjective “crocatus,” meaning “saffron yellow.” Spice derived from an autumn crocus was used extensively by ancient chefs. Fashionistas used saffron to color fabrics and hairdos. Others swore it cured Grandpa Kitanetos’ rheumatism, Grandma Isis’ headaches and even Uncle Flavius’ habit of hitting the wineskins too often.
Not surprisingly, the plant appeared in early civilizations’ mythology. Somebody was always falling in love with somebody else, rousing a god’s jealousy. In retribution, remorse or pity — or all three — deities, nymphs or humans were turned into crocuses.
In contrast, God, in the Old Testament book of Isaiah, celebrated the flower with an outrageous simile: “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus” (Isaiah 35:1 NIV).
The Judean desert? I’ve been there. Even cacti run screaming from that burning wilderness.
At that time, God wasn’t dealing with depressed sports fans whose team blew it. He was speaking to war refugees who thought God had given up on them. Instead, He promised Jesus would come, bringing forgiveness and healing that would make miserable lives blossom like the crocus.
Today, as snow falls, the crocuses and I don’t give up hope. Tiny buds are reaching for the heavens, proclaiming Jesus’ Resurrection never quits.
Because of Him, we can always have hope.
Even if our team loses in the first round.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What do crocuses say to you?