Tuesday, March 21, 2017
“If people did not love one another, I really don't see what use there would be in having any spring.” ― Victor Hugo
Got my stitches out yesterday, so I move into spring, medical procedure free--which is a good thing. Today, March 21st, is the official first day of spring, but it’s not only not really our “spring” but is in fact the beginning of what you would call our “fall.” The temperatures begin to dip a bit, but just a dip. The rainy season seems to have started as we are having rain almost every day and that hopefully ends the drought—at least around here. So, while not really our spring season, the rains do bring back the green and the flowers. In about six weeks the annual migration of over 1.5 million wildebeests (just one herd, there are others) with 500,000 zebras traveling with them will begin in earnest following the lush new grass. Around a half a million wildebeest calves are now being born and with just a month of walking practice, these little ones will have to cover thousands of kilometers traveling with the herd. They come within about forty kilometers of us here, but when Karen and I first drove from Arusha to Bunda back on July 1, 2005, (with Shaban at the wheel) we had to drive right through the middle of the migration, and it was awesome. The ground shook from the pounding of the hooves, and we would often have to stop for thirty minutes or longer as the herd poured around us on both sides. Wildebeests are not pretty to look at as the locals think that God built them out of parts left over from other animals. I think God sneezed as He was making them, saw what He did, and then, because they were so ugly, decided to make millions of them. But I may be wrong.
No one knows for certain exactly when Christ’s resurrection took place, but celebrating it in the spring around the time of the great migration is a great idea. The beginning of spring is a wonderful time for analogies of rebirth and new beginnings, like half a million wildebeest babies for one. The first day of spring was such a big deal for the farmers and everyone in the past that the first day of the year (New Year’s Day) was on March 25th until 1582. Google it, if you’re really interested in all the politics surrounding moving the date around, but you can see how the new year and the beginning of spring seem to go hand-in-hand.
For us, we will see green and lush vegetation and many happy farmers for the next few months. Alas, there will also usually be flooding, deaths, and houses collapsing because bad and good are never very far apart. The rains bring new life as Easter brings a time to renew commitments forgotten or faded in memory. It also swells the congregations at most Christian churches in the developed world, but not here where there is little of the hoopla (no Easter eggs or chocolate bunnies here) found elsewhere. Here, as in the early church, the celebration of Easter is a time of rededication of lives to the service of Christ and to remember His sacrifice for us. We are the “generations yet unborn” alluded to in Psalm 22 which seems to quite accurately reflect Christ’s crucifixion—worth reading if you’ve missed it. For us, our spirits are up as we await Palm Sunday and Easter. I do miss the Holy Week services, but I enjoyed them when I had them. You should, too. Thank you so much for your prayers for rain for us. You guys have God listening to you, that much is clear. Now, you have to listen to Him. He will speak to you if you just let Him.
A link to a National Geographic 16-minute video is below if you want to see more of the great wildebeest migration that happens here in our backyard.