My Word of the Week: Spring

spring – nounoften attributive, \ˈspriŋ\ 

: the season between winter and summer : the season when plants and trees begin to grow
: a twisted or coiled piece of metal that returns to its original shape when it is pressed down or stretched
: the ability of something to return to its original shape when it is pressed down, stretched, twisted, etc.

__________

Now that the snow has almost melted and the sun shines nearly every day, now that the mercury rises high enough in the afternoons to keep the coats in the closets and the daylight lasts past suppertime, the crocuses have begun to peek out through the wet soil and the grass is greening up under its frostbit tips and the birds warble in the late morning.

Spring is coming.

Every year it happens this way. Just when I thought I couldn’t take another day of winter–and this winter has been worse than usual–I find the warm air and the bright light are too much to resist. Even before it’s warm enough, I stop wearing a jacket and I slip my unstockinged feet into shoes, and I break free from the four walls that have nearly suffocated me while the earth slept.

Spring. The very word sounds like hope to me. The whole earth prepares for a resurrection dress rehearsal with her buds and shoots and blooms and seedlings just waiting to explode out of the ground and through the ends of branches. And the whole lot of us breathe again because we made it through the darkness and bitter cold and hibernation of winter.

But we didn’t make it unscathed. Branches have fallen, rocks have been pushed into the lawn by the snow plow, potholes have formed, and the ground itself has shifted and bulged through the freezing and thawing. The large spring on the inside of our garage door snapped when the temperatures varied by sixty degrees in the span of hours. The wind blew the siding off our house in the back. Our son’s sapling we planted last Spring lost all its needles and now stands bare in the side yard.

We have survived, but we have work to do.

And that news sounds a lot like hope to me, too. Resurrection life isn’t earned or bought, but its hard-fought, repetitive, and much more effort than I ever imagined. Winter fear and despair threaten every day to pull me under, hold me down. The vernal work of choosing hope and faith and love keeps me growing, thriving, and living.

On Sunday, we began making the mental list of what we need to do to welcome Spring here. Trim the bushes. Cut back the ornamental grasses. Pick up the rocks from the yard. Take a load of items to Goodwill. Paint the front door.

And while we work, we sing the songs from our hearts that say “yes” and “welcome” and “we’re glad you’re here” to the birds and the trees and all the possibilities that ride in the slipstream of the geese flying north to home.

__________

WORD COUNT: 451

Photo by blmiers2via Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License. Definitions of my word of the week are from Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online.

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Charity Singleton Craig

Charity Singleton Craig is a writer, author, and speaker, helping readers grow in their faith and experience true hope in the middle of life’s joys and sorrows. She is the author of My Year in Words: what I learned from choosing one word a week for one year and coauthor of On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life That Lasts.


  • Ann Kroeker ,

    my brother was saying the same thing the other day–that spring means work. And I don’t think that he was singing songs about it. but I like to sing of spring when I see crocuses… But I have seen none yet. I think you have a much more beautiful area coming to life than I and you have a much more beautiful attitude about the fickle weather. I think I need 10 more degrees and sunshine and then I will sing.

    • Ann Kroeker ,

      Wow, I should not leave longish comments using my phone. They always end up riddled with typos.

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        Charity Singleton Craig ,

        Now I’m thinking about whether or not I am singing songs about the work, or just singing songs in spite of the work because it’s spring! I’m hoping you will get that 10 degrees soon, then I’ll come over and serenade you, if you want!

      • Megan Willome ,

        “We have survived, but we have work to do.”–Oh, yes. That’s what it feels like around here. We’re also thinking of selling our house, so we’ll be taking on some extra projects.

        Interesting sidenote: Much of the Mountain West gets the bulk of its snow in March. So, the days are longer and less cold, but more snowy.

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          Charity Singleton Craig ,

          Megan – Selling the house would involve a level of work that far surpasses Spring! I’ll be praying for you as you decide.