Today is Ash Wednesday. It is the beginning of the Lenten Season in the Christian tradition, and many of us will begin preparing ourselves for the mystery of Easter.
For now, the focus is on the concepts of rebirth and new life, which are universal themes, especially in Spring!
Both at home and in my classroom, we will create a Lenten Garden; visit this link for a great tutorial (because I haven't created ours yet, AND I don't have a camera!) Ann Druitt in "All Year Round" offers a lovely description of this garden. It will appear lifeless (moss, bare twig-trees, etc.), until Easter arrives, at which point I will adorn them with small potted crocuses and other living things.
In sharp contrast to the deprivation one feels when going on a "diet", I enjoy the quiet contemplation of this season, and the sense that by "giving up" something I enjoy (in my case, coffee AND sugar) for the forty days leading up to Easter, I am tilling the soil of my spirit, creating a nourishing space where beauty can thrive.