“There was no trace of the fog now. The sky became bluer and bluer, and now there were white clouds hurrying across it from time to time. In the wide glades there were primroses. A light breeze sprang up which scattered drops of moisture from the swaying branches and carried cool, delicious scents against the faces of the travelers. The trees began to come fully alive.”
And so Spring was the first drip in the great thaw of the White Witches’ downfall. When Edmund heard the chattering of running water and watched the snow slide from the boughs, he knew something very good was happening.
Aslan was nearer.
“’This is no thaw,’ said the Dwarf, ‘This is Spring! What are we to do? Your winter has been destroyed, I tell you. This is Aslan’s doing.’”[i]
The trees are coming fully alive here, too. The redbuds are poking out from the forests again, the Bradford pears arch over the street in a White Way of Delight, and I’m remembering how on Holy Week, Jesus pointed his disciples to a fig tree and told them to “learn its lesson.”
“As soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates.” ~ Matt. 24:32-33
“These things” were the signs of the King’s return— a black moon and falling stars and trumpet blasts, when he would gather his children from the four winds of the earth to shelter them as he longed to shelter Jerusalem, and as Adam and Eve had been perfectly sheltered in the shade of the Tree of Life (Matt. 23:37, Gen. 3:8-9).
In the meantime, Jesus says to look at the trees in spring, to read the signs like Edmund did. Just as the unfurling leaves mean summer is near, so today on Palm Sunday, the waving palm leaves mean he is near, at the very gates.
Winter is soon to be shut away forever.
“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude… standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’
“And he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.”
~ Revelation 5:9-10, 15
[i] C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. (HarperCollins: New York, NY, 1950)