Earlier this week a thunderstorm blew through chasing out the last of winter and leaving drops of spring scattered in her wake. It’s still cool — this is New England after all. But evidence of the world waking is sprinkled all around. Daffodils bloom and the tiniest buds blush deeply in crimson — a bit nervous about what they’ll soon reveal. The birds are beside themselves with song — singing wildly even in the rain. Everything feels giddy, bursting, on the cusp of life and warmth and newness.
This was my 11th winter in Massachusetts. Though it has taken me all eleven years to figure it out, I do believe I’m finding my way through the cold at last. Winter for me has always been about surviving, holding on, and keeping my eyes firmly shut until June. But little by little I’ve begun to understand the purpose of this necessary season.
For one thing, by summer’s end we fail to still notice the bird’s song or the shades of green or the beauty of flowers all around. We get accustomed to lovely things and winter is the perfect remedy to such lazy assumptions of unending comfort. I learn my lesson every January as I layer on my coat, gloves, hat and boots just to check the mail. I repent of taking any good thing for granted and promise to notice every leaf and bloom if spring ever comes again.
And here’s the thing I’m learning most of all — spring does always come again. However brutal and unfeeling winter may be, somehow by June you hardly remember it happened at all. What just a few weeks ago appeared dead forever now reveals life hidden and resting all along. And with all the metaphors this lively season offers, I’m reminded the same is true of hearts and lives too. Cold, barren seasons of life will eventually transition from roots deeply hidden to life bursting in blooms. What seems dead and wasted almost never is — spring always comes again.
I read recently that
The greatest pleasures are those born of labor and investment.Karen Swallow Prior
Indeed, if we never walk through winter, we will never truly appreciate the sweet antithesis of such barren seasons. I notice spring because I have walked through winter. We best notice life after we have tasted death.
Today I walked around outside with my kids soaking up the warmth of sunshine on my back. I’m thankful for spring, but most of all I’m thankful that seasons change and hope buoys us ever on. We often say that nothing lasts forever in reference to the good but the same can be said of the hard stuff too. Nothing lasts forever, not even a New England winter.