Ashes in the Snow

Stanzas for Ash Wednesday and Lent

The fire was ours for several hours one night,
A gift we had on New Year’s Eve,
To gather round its roaring sound and light
And talk and listen, laugh, receive.

This time the wood was especially good and dry,
A tree I’d cut from just last spring;
Our family here from everywhere, and I
Just sighed at what these moments bring.

We’d cleared the snow for fire’s glow. Our son
Would ask his love to be his bride;
With ring in place she would say yes, right here
At this year’s end, this fireside.

How rare for us, how good for us, to be
All in one place our love to show.
The fire died down, and not a sound. Then we –
We buried ashes in the snow.

I cleared away the snow one day to find
The ashes left from that same night.
Though charred and spent, they were a Lent so kind
To bring good memories of our rite.

Some ashes mark our sins so dark that must
Be faced and killed and buried deep.
Some ashes though can help us grow. With dust
They are the memories we keep.

An ashen cross may mark my loss, my stain,
But still it brings a lasting gift,
Remembrance of amazing love, a gain:
From ashes, too, there’s joy to lift. 

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