The fern plants were blackened by the snow and the freezing days that began Lent in Dallas this year. Already they are green again, new growth pushing up from the ground in artistic contrast with the still-present darkened leaves.
    Vegetation lives longer here, often surviving the few freezing hours we have on a few winter days in a normal year. Many trees seem never to lose their leaves, although there are lots of leaves on the ground. One hears leaf-blowers, somewhere, almost any day of any month. Our leaves fall from October to March: our trees are courteous not to dump everything on the ground at once.
    Blossoms have arrived and many are already gone, replaced by baby leaves. Pollen freshens the air; sweet scents waft over fences and down alleys.
    Along the trail the recently planted trees have come through the harsh winter: no longer upright broomsticks, they are already marked with buds and their bare geometry speckled in green. Beneath them, in the 6 a.m. dark, the white tails of rabbits frolic.
    The birds are singing earlier, and there are more of them. Some say Hoo-hoo; others, a pitch repeated in staccato; others ask “who’s there” on a declining third. I think it’s G-to-E-flat, but my pitch isn’t perfect.
    A 20th century Easter hymn paired with a 15th century tune: “Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain, wheat that in dark earth many days has lain; love lives again, that with the dead has been: Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.”
    It seemed he would be with us for still a long time to come. Yet before we knew it, events accelerated. There was that disturbance in the temple, the police action at night, and within 24 hours all we had was his corpse.
    And then there was an earthquake. The curtains fell. The scattered people came together. Suddenly, unexpected, springing joy.

The Rev. Canon Dr. Victor Lee Austin is the Theologian-in-Residence for the diocese and is the author of several books including, "Losing Susan: Brain Disease, the Priest's Wife, and the God who Gives and Takes Away."