I noticed my first iris bloom of the season today. It's stunning, if I do say so myself. Plus, our California poppies are starting to bloom, so that orange makes the iris's purple even more beautiful.
We starting putting our old chunks of concrete back in the ground, as stepping stones, this afternoon. Our garden is starting to look more, well, garden-y. (The gnome helps.) I love the things that are growing.
I keep trying to look at my yard with an outsider's eyes, but never really succeed. I have the same problem with our house.
Probably, to someone passing by, both still look pretty ragged. But I see all this progress that we've made. Even some of the bits that seem to look messier than when we started--like our lack of trim on windows and doorways, or the bits of missing siding where we re-plumbed the kitchen sink--are signs to me of progress we're making. Making this house our home is a long, messy process. And I'm proud of our ragged attempts at progress. (My messy garden is SO much better than the concrete that was there!)
Which seems like an apt image for lent; certainly, for Ash Wednesday. To get to Easter, first we cover ourselves with messy ashes. This probably makes us look a lot worse off than we seemed on Mardi Gras, but the ashes mark a pretty important and big step.
I only participated in morning-time Ash Wednesday worship once or twice, so I'm not sure how I feel about wearing my ashes around town all day, announcing to the world that I need repentance.
But I'm definitely going to try to get more details from anyone who looks ragged or messy. They might just need congratulations for making it a good, long way toward being whole.