Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Spring (the season) (07/23/09)
- TITLE: Fresh Warmth; Fresh Wit
By Noel Mitaxa
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If I’ve told people once I’ve told them a thousand times, I’m not prone to exaggerate; but it’s been an exceptionally long, cold winter. Maybe it’s always sunny if you’re tall enough but now winter is beginning to retreat. And any time the clouds part the sun is finally offering a gentle, sustained caress on any bare skin - with a promise of more to come.
Days are becoming milder, but at night it’s hard to imagine anything sleeping. Everything is bursting into life. Shoots relentlessly push up through the cold, soft soil; buds keep bursting out through what seemed like dead branches only a week ago. And it’s only a matter of days before we are treated to a dazzling eruption of blossoms that herald the coming months of an uninterrupted pageant of colours; splashed around the garden; all competing for our attention.
An extra activity around now is to carefully scan our small acreage each morning, noting any solitary ewes which are instinctively looking for privacy. We will most likely find them soon afterwards below the dam, with their young, in the grove of trees that we have now dubbed the birthing suite.
Somehow, despite its total defencelessness, a ewe can keep a fox away from a single new lamb. But this year five sets of twins have arrived. Experience has taught us to quickly put twin lambs together with their mothers in holding pens during their first two weeks; away from foxes. These predators can easily outmanoeuvre any ewe with two lambs to protect; and so every spring our shed becomes an overnight multiple-birth lamb nursery.
How many sheep do we have? Could I confess to not being sure; for every time I count them I fall asleep!
But watching these creatures respond to their instincts is a wordless window into God’s power to create. Invisibly to the outside world; life begins, through gestation to the quiet trauma of birth – and into a much wider world – as mother and child quickly bond. Yet even in the bonding, a cycle of detaching and reattaching starts to emerge, until independence finally asserts itself.
In the wider world, creative business and marketing ideas are launched; maybe surprising anyone who has not seen them coming. But sometimes a quick wit can be poised and ready with a suitable response…
A nearby university town’s amateur dramatic society’s winter was spent planning a month-long springtime festival of Shakespeare’s plays. Ten theatrical societies from far and wide have all enthusiastically agreed to come for three nights in turn, with each one presenting a different Shakespearean classic. They eagerly embraced their invitations to: “tread our boards, as we treasure our Bard.”
Having drawn such eager responses, the society has cranked up its publicity machine for this imminent “Springtime Festival of Shakespeare,” and bookings have exceeded everyone's wildest dreams
Other local businesses have unexpectedly taken up their theme, like the camping goods store next door. Its owner has draped his windows with a huge banner bearing a simple message: “Now is the discount of our winter tents!”
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