Root and Branch

The delicate hair on her forearm fluttered as softly as the breeze gently breathes through a field of tall, bright yellow meadow grass. Leaves on the overhanging branches above the roof rustled soothingly, the wind playing and dancing around the branches of the wizened old tree. The moon shone fitfully through ragged clouds, her light offering a solemn and nocturnal glow against the grace and flow of the upward growing branches outside.

There the young woman lay waiting, the coolness of the air easing the heat from her brow. The tiny ember within her fanned and enveloped her. The water of life was within her; her blood was His and His was of her, the fire within her engulfed her every limb and fibre. Closing her eyes, she could hear the rush of blood pumping through her ears. Fear gave way to joy as the echoes of the past became present and present became future. Holding her hand to her swollen stomach, the cries of men and women gave way to the sound of trumpet and laughter. The mountains could be heard shouting for joy as the trees in the fields clapped their hands. The blood of eternal life flowed through her limbs; growing, enriching, blossoming.

Pain seared through her like a hot iron. Tears mixed with sweat as her heart beat like a deer on the hillside. And she rejoiced. Wherever the weary bones of humankind might rest; in a foreign field, at home, at sea- there the root of Jesse shall sprout from God’s earth; gentle, vibrant, strong, eternal. Words to be uttered by all of mankind echoed within her. All generations will call me blessed. The hour had come and the spear shaft of anguish and fear lay shattered outside for all eternity.

Photograph courtesy of  Gordon Nichol

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