[Image of John the Baptist by Lucinda.
She created this liturgical art for Advent, not Lent, but both are seasons of reflection and expectation.]
While I am no longer a practicing Catholic, the stories remain the base note of my life.
They smell like ozone during thunderstorms; the scent of burying your nose in your favorite pet; lilacs in the backyard; the iron drip of blood; flying fish off starboard; leaf mulch under spring ice; a splash of melting beeswax on your hand; dusty feet and sweaty leather...
If Lent were a perfume, it would be dark and bright:
burned bone and honey,
black pepper and pear,
musk and lemon,
crushed cilantro and mint.
Sometimes Lent is misrepresented as a gloomy time. While it is a time of inwardness, it is not at all about getting stuck in the muck.
Look, here's part of the reading from Isaiah 58 for today, Ash Wednesday:
"When thou shalt pour out thy soul to the hungry, and shalt satisfy the afflicted soul then shall thy light rise up in darkness, and thy darkness shall be as the noonday.
"And the Lord will give thee rest continually, and will fill thy soul with brightness, and deliver thy bones, and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a fountain of water whose waters shall not fail.
"And the places that have been desolate for ages shall be built in thee: thou shalt raise up the foundations of generation and generation: and thou shalt be called the repairer of the fences, turning the paths into rest.”