Ash Wednesday is nearly always a day I give my little corner table a serious cleaning. After the Christmas season there are always those few straggling pine needles and drips of wax. There is something refreshing about stripping everything away and starting from scratch. The dark background cloth of Advent is replaced with blue, the burlap is shaken out and a few purple silks are added.
Stones and rounds of birch bark are are put in place next. This year I also added a birds nest - we never remove birds nests from bushes or trees but we do sometimes come across them fallen in the yard or on our road. A single candle and an angel - even Jesus was ministered to by an angel in the desert.
The bird's nest is especially for me, a reminder to myself that I do know what I am called to do.
The twigs and fluff and leaves of the bird's nest are brought from all sorts of places, from wherever the brave careful mother alights, with the fluttering but daring heart, to fetch them, from the distances and explorations that only the spread wings of love know.
- Caryll Houselander "The Reed of God"
And after a walk, a bit green is brought in as a final touch.