Flip turns have a mystique about them. Walk up to any pool and watch folks swimming laps. Your eyes will immediately go to the swimmers who do flip turns at the walls. It doesn’t matter if they are faster than the other swimmers, they will look fiercer because of the flip turn. Conversely, if, instead of doing flip turns, you saw Katie Ledecky or Michael Phelps sticking their heads up at the walls, gulping air, turning awkwardly half out of the water, then plunging back in for the next lap, they would seem significantly less fierce.
I’ve always liked the word fallow. I like the sound of it, the short “a” sound followed by the long “o” sound. I like that it’s almost follow, but not quite. Mostly, I appreciate its indication that when it looks as if nothing is happening, looks are probably deceiving. Rest is some of the deepest work to be done.
When, in my adult life, I first heard church folks start talking about “taking on” something for Lent rather than “giving up” something, I thought I would lose it. I don’t remember observing Ash Wednesday until high school or giving up something for Lent until college.
The beginnings of things are sometimes hard to discern as they are happening. Sometimes we experience that lightning bolt of recognition, a sudden, stark contrast between then and now, seeing in a stranger’s face the one we are beginning to love in that same moment. More often, we realize in the midst of things that they’ve already begun, something new seeping into the familiar terrain, changing the texture like steady gentle rain saturating dry ground. What was hard and dusty becomes damp and spongy, the moment of change imperceptible.
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