Sunday, April 19, 2009


Spring is coming. It’s a promise, a given, consistent and known. Yet every year, it amazes me.

I have witnessed the change of seasons for 50 ye
ars. Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. All the seasons bring something unique and different than the other. But Spring…it is a “rebirth” of sorts, and because it follows the harshness of winter, provides the most hope in nature and in my life. Spring brings with it great promise of things to come…Growth, flowers, color, fragrance – life. Just as sure as winter brings death and dormancy, spring brings life and activity.

Snow can be beautiful, and the cold weather can bring about hot chocolate, warm fires and lots of snuggling. But for me, the moment Christmas is over, I am through with winter and look forward to Spring. I begin counting the months, then the weeks until its expected start. After each wintertime gas bill, I calculate how soon before I can turn the heat down. If I can just keep my mind on the first crocus, or sprouting leaves on trees, or the extra money I’ll save on the gas bills, it gives me hope and I can then trudge through the cold, snow and ice once again, to clean off my car.

Spring. I look for it, hope for it, pray for it and tell myself over and over “it’s coming”, and I still get as excited as a 3 year old when the first signs appear.
When my kids were little, it was always a big deal the day we saw our first robin. I can still hear their excited voices say “Mommy, I see a robin!” and I’d smile and make a fuss just like my mom did when I was young. It was always a day to take note of and it meant that things were different now, like the robin held some magical power to change the weather. With that same sense of wonder from my youth, each year on the day I see my first spring bird, I will exclaim “I saw a robin today!” to a friend, or my husband, or the check out lady at Martin’s. Sometimes it’s met with equal exuberance, but more often it is “hmmm, that’s nice”. Their reaction to my excitedness about spring seems to be – it happens every year; what’s the big deal? So, I would call my mommy and tell her I saw my first robin and with the same delight as when I was little she would say, “Did you? That’s great! That means spring is coming!”. She died last May and I missed sharing the news with her this year.

Spring isn’t a date and comes when it sees fit. It decides whether it will agree with the human calendar. Spring is a change, and change brings possibilities to me. Maybe this spring will bring more physical activity, which could bring about the desire to exercise, which might bring about a love for walking, which would bring weight loss, which could bring about…you get the picture. It seems nothing is impossible in the spring. Maybe this yea
r I will get my yard in order…or lay those new stones…or hang clothes out to dry…or clean out my car…anything could happen!!!

Spring brings about gratefulness. When I step outsi
de and feel the warmth of the morning instead of bitter cold, I am grateful. Even when the sun isn’t shining and it’s raining out, I am grateful that it is not snow. The saying from childhood pops into my head: “April showers brings May flowers” and I am grateful for the assurance that something good will come of gloominess of rain.

Spring opens my eyes and ears. It makes me notice everyday things that we take for granted, but are really amazing. As soon as I can, I sit outside on my patio, morning coffee in hand and feast on the small sanctuary in my yard. Birds gathering materials for nests, squirrels foraging, breezes blowing and the tinkling of wind chimes making music. Over the years I’ve gotten to know several songs of the birds and as I hear the cardinal chirping or the morning dove cooing and the blue jay cackling, I love to spot them in the trees when I recognize their call. Sparrows bobbing up and down all over the yard as the males dance to win a mate. It amuses me to watch as the females seem to pay them no mind, flitting off to another waiting to woo her. Each year is a love/hate relationship with the squirrels. I love to watch them run and play through the yard, chattering, racing each other up the trees, and looking like circus performers as they navigate the electrical wires. “How do they do that?” I wonder each time I witness this feat. But then, they turn on me and dig up my newly planted petunias or shimmy up my bird feeder and pillage food meant for creatures smaller and weaker than them. Sometimes when I sit out there alone, meditating on all the activity, I think, “Does anybody else notice this stuff?”.

Spring is a gamble of sorts. Will those bulbs I planted come up this year? Did those pesky squirrels get them in their quest for buried nuts? Some years I have daffodils springing up in the middle of my yard, surely carried there by a well-meaning squirrel. And every year I look at the brown, dry, dead remains from plants that are “perennials”, and I think there is no way they have survived the winter. They are supposed to return each year, but I still look with awe and delight as the first green growth appears under the old brown leaves on my lavender or the red sprouts of new leaves on the dry branches of my rosebushes. Even the day lilies, which seem as if nothing could kill them, still amaze me as they sprout up out of the ground with the purpose of bringing flowers that will last only one day before closing up.

Easter comes in the Spring. We celebrate resurrection, faith, hope, and belief in power greater than us. That is Spring. Out of death and the hardness of a frozen ground there is proof that what we see with our eyes is not all that there is. That even in bitterness and unpleasant conditions, there is something else at work; beauty has not been discarded. That there are roots always alive and preparing for just the right time to sprout new growth. The assurance that even when it seems we are in our most unproductive season, there are things at work inside, underneath, waiting to be born, to come to life. Spring awakens sleeping beauty and calls back things gone away. Spring says to them, it’s ok, come out, come back; you are wanted – you can grow here, you are not forgotten. Spring reminds me that all that is true in nature about changing seasons is true of me. Promises and dreams just waiting for the right time, the right season to push through the hard ground of the limitations in my mind to bloom and bear fruit. That just like in Indiana you don’t grow corn in January, so with my life I must wait for the favorable season to bear certain fruit. These lessons in nature have given me hope. Spring has awakened me and helped me to see that my season has changed, Winter is over…

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