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To Bring Peace

A very short story, where fiction and nonfiction intertwine.

I gauged spring’s progress from where I stood at the sliding glass door. Sunbeams peppered the hill above the limestone wall, coaxing daffodil stems and leaves to lengthen. The dog whined. I hesitated. “Let me grab my coat,” I said, and when we exited, the breeze was tolerable. Sunlight coaxed me to linger.

Trees with colorless bark lifted bare branches—no hope for drawing out leaves by Easter. It was always this way. We expected the oriole to arrive in May when the peony bloomed. I’d hang the hummingbird feeder mid-April, but spring solidified later than you’d expect.

The dog sniffed at a patch of sun on the patio, so I dragged a lichen-covered chair into the same sunbeam. Beyond the concrete, daylight warmed soggy grass. The hillside, slick and muddy, began to show spring; for green moss brightened the limestone boulders that dotted the land, some of them as large as cars, tossed there, discarded, when up came the neighborhood, decades ago. Springtime rains lured the boulders to slip like soap from a soap dish, yet caught by roots and vines, the boulders clung.

Like to Naomi, Ruth clung. The book of Ruth I’d read that morning, so the word clung camped in my thoughts till the metaphor switched to boulder—"the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” (Psalm 118:22). I like jotting things like these in my writers’ notebook, pictures to beckon and stir further imaginings.

But the quiet yard bound me to stay in the lichen-stained patio chair—for now the dog lay in the sun patch. And on the hill, I noticed, below one of these boulders, a gap between rock and dirt—or rather, mud—where a narrow cave sprawled. Low and hollowed out, I pictured a fox or a badger hideout, but there on the edge, doves lined up in a trove. Earth-colored, the birds stood and scanned the hillside. Then cooing, they ascended and wisped downhill, alighting close by and into better view.

I looked at the dog. She chased her shadow, and for that, I was glad because the doves settled under the birdfeeder near the stone wall—a stone’s throw from where I sat. The flock spread out, scratching, churning the ground. Doves, gentle-mannered, spanned and startled a greedy blue jay. A squirrel—hoarding seeds—was shooed, to dart across a soggy lawn, his direction turned.

The peaceful whoosh of a dove. She landed and gleaned scraps, like Ruth, the gleaner. Ruth, whose arrival initiated and stirred. Ruth, who became the grandmother of David’s father, Jesse, whose roots intertwined and linked to the Peace Bringer—Jesus—fully God and fully man, the resurrected Christ.


 

Jesus quoted Psalm 118:22 after the telling of a parable in Mark chapter 12.


Other Scripture: Ruth 1-4, Isaiah 11:1-11, John 11:25-27, 1 Peter 1:3

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