The Falling of the Pink Chestnut Blossoms
Far away we heard the sound of trumpets. At once there was movement everywhere. We leapt to our feet and hurried out to the green. All around us, people were doing the same, and without any words, each seemed to know his appointed place. Swiftly the crowds formed two long ranks, the children in the front and the adults standing behind. Everyone made room for Rose as soon as they saw her. I sensed that all knew she was here for the first time. At any rate she was set with the children, right at the end of the double line. We stood behind her.
All at once a wonderful thing began to happen. The pink chestnut over our house began to fall! Shower after shower of the petals floated down, and though they quickly piled high, yet the blossoms looked exactly as before. After a short time there was a heap of petals before our house. Over it, the pink chestnut, undisturbed, swayed in the breeze.
While I stood gazing, the children left the ranks, and running down the grassy avenue, plunged their hands into the rosy drift. Then they returned with loaded arms, scattering the petals all along the avenue until it was thickly carpeted.
All this time, the trumpets were growing louder and now they blazed forth. At the end of the green, a multitude of angels began to appear, walking two by two. They were singing. They spread out all over the green, behind the ranks of people, and then everyone fell on their knees whispering excitedly, “It is the Master!”
There, in the grassy avenue, stood the Holy One. He was robed in crimson and as we all bowed low, He held His Hands up in blessing. At once a voice rang out from among the angels: “Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven!” All the other angels took up the cry, saying, “He suffers the children to come unto Him, for He is the King of Heaven’s realm!”
Slowly he walked down the avenue and the petals were fragrant under His feet. He had a smile for all the little ones, and many times He stopped to touch a head in blessing. As He passed, the people looked up and joined with the angels in their song. As He drew nearer our heads bent low and our hearts beat with love and awe. Just as we thought He had passed, He paused and turned. His hand went out to touch the head of Rose. In my heart, and in Janet’s heart at that moment, stole the words, “Why, Rose, you have come at last. . .Welcome!” I think Rose heard them too, for the tears filled her eyes. She bent forward, picked up the hem of the crimson robe and pressed it to her lips.
Once more the angels gathered about Him. Once more He raised His Hand in blessing, and we watched Him until He was lost to sight in the shadows of the wood. . .
Silently, the crowds dispersed, their faces rapt. Soon, the green was deserted. I thought at first, that we would all three return to the house, but Rose led the way to the beach. She seemed as one half-fainting as she turned at the water’s edge.
“Goodbye, my dear friends,” she whispered, gripping our hands. “I cannot tell you all you have done for me, all you will do. For I will come again soon!” I pressed her hand, and Janet took her into her arms murmuring, “Do not forget to tell them He is all Love!”
“He is all Love, all Love,” Rose echoed. She turned and went from us over the surface of the sea. We stood and watched her until she had dropped out of sight over the horizon, and then walked back to our house.
We were very silent as we reached our couches. Each of us had turned within to the secret place of the heart, for there the Master was calling. I met His loving gaze, and my whole soul went out to Him, my Beloved. In that moment it seemed that He drew me entirely into Himself, that in my heart I leant upon His Heart and listened to the words of the Word. The bliss of that moment! Closer was He than when He had passed me in the flower-strewn avenue, closer far. The words of Paul came to me then and I turned them over in my mind with a new understanding. “He who is joined to the Lord is one Spirit.” One Spirit. Yes, it was so. My spirit was knit to His, and in that moment of union my Lord spoke in my heart.
“You have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry, ‘Father’. . . And if sons, heirs also, heirs indeed of God and joint heirs with Christ.” As He ended these words I became aware again of Janet, and she of me. We rose immediately and went forth over the green. There was no need of words, for each knew the other had communed with the Master, that each was summoned to the Presence of the Father to receive a ray from the reflection of His Light, to be robed in green and be made an Heir.
The prospect was stupendous, and our courage would have failed had we not received the Master’s assurance. For had He not said that we receive nothing of ourselves, but that we were hid in Him? He had spoken to us the words, “For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ, in God.” Ah surely, hid in Him we should be safe.
Thus it was that we halted on the edge of the green, and Janet whispered in a low, thrilled tone, “To the Hall of Audience, Bernard!”