Innocence (Green)

Posted on: November 30, 2009

These horse chestnut leaves were so new, they were still a little moist.  It was a raw cold April morning when this photograph was taken, with left-over snow lying about in patches.  It felt as if the earth had been thoroughly rinsed.  I loved the way the leaf ‘hands’ were still hanging down, in clusters of five. 

I find spring has an innocence about it that is very pleasing.  

It’s the infant of the seasons, and the mood is often upbeat, full of expectation.   The earth begins to be clothed in foliage, and hibernating animals wake up.  The whole of nature begins its annual cycle once again. 

If winter is an old man, then spring is a small child.  People often talk about spring in terms of how unpredictable it is.  The March wind can be playful and mischievous, like a little boy. 

Innocence can have to do with immaturity, or naiveté, or just inexperience.  And of course ‘innocent’ can mean ‘not guilty’.  But there is another side to innocence – a kind of blend of being innocent (not guilty), and a holy childlikeness. 

If innocence isn’t just a stage in life, then this gives me hope that in Heaven, we will experience the youthful joy we get a taste of every year in spring.  I love this description of spring by nature writer Adam Nicolson: ‘gratitude married to amazement’. 

I think in Heaven, people will have the zest for life and energy of youth, together with the wisdom of maturity.   And perhaps the atmosphere of the place will reflect that, in ways that can be felt.  I wonder if it will feel like spring in some ways, and like autumn in others.

Another spring-related thought –  should our own personal spring happen only once in a lifetime?  Perhaps whenever we venture into something new, or begin a project that excites us, we can each enjoy our own mini-spring.  That’s a heart-warming notion,  just now, when even the thought of spring is very welcome, and almost exotic!

Jesus spoke of innocence as a lifelong quality we should cultivate.  (‘Be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves’ – Matthew 10:16.)   This is connected with meaning no harm, and some versions translate ‘innocent’ here as ‘harmless’.  However, other versions have ‘simple’.  This takes us back to a childlike quality of not-knowing – it’s a trust in one’s spirit, meaning one is content not to know certain things.  The Apostle Paul, writing to the Romans, said: ‘I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.’ [Chapter 16, verse 19].  (The King James Version says ‘simple concerning evil’.)   We all know people who are just a little bit too knowing.


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  • Carole: Beautiful!
  • Amy: Sounds like a beautiful color and dress. And I would love to see a picture of that tree! I do love trees of all kinds, and you make some great points
  • Amy: What a beautiful poem or song to God, love it! We're exciting to see spring here up in the northeast after a long, cold, snowy winter! Blessings, A


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