Spring: A Spiritual Biography of the Season
, , illus. by Mary Azarian. . SkyLight Paths, $21.99 (326pp) ISBN 978-1-59473-114-3
The author of Ecclesiastes once said, "To every thing there is a season." Now, thanks to Schmidt and Felch, to every season there is a fine spiritual portrait: this anthology concludes the exemplary seasonal series, ending on hope's high note. Sidestepping the obvious, the volume often opts for a more oblique reality. Sophisticated, accessible, and thoughtful, it understands that "the springtimes of our experience are not all robins and violets; they are grace crouched in need and pain." To wit, Donald Hall tells the truth about cursing beavers and black flies, but doesn't neglect the celebrations of a herd loosed on the new green of spring either. Organized into "Stirrings," "Awakenings," "Growth," "Pilgrimage" and "Dance," some of the finest musings are in the section introductions, alongside entries from Annie Dillard, Isak Dinesen, Barbara Kingsolver, Geoffrey Chaucer, Jane Kenyon, Gerard Manley Hopkins and many more. If the volume has a flaw it is that the North American entries concentrate on the possibly spring-starved Northeast, but poems, essays and remembrances that portray China, Africa and England help fill this minor deficit. Through poetry, prose, hymns and essays, this collection joyfully celebrates the glories of the season.
Reviewed on: 01/30/2006