The sun shines white today, angling in through the blinds, and just through the window I see the red blooms on my quince bush stretching open in the warmth. When the first hint of them caught my eye a week or so ago, I worried. This unseasonably warm weather we have been having might mean certain death for the flowers and bushes that have fallen for the deceit. One year, a layer of snow covered my pansies.
But now that the thermostat has reach boldly up to the 70s in March – in Indiana – I think the flowers did what they had to do. Whatever was coming to life in them couldn’t be stopped. And the lawns that grow green, and the purple and yellow crocuses that sneak up through the mulch, and the red buds that fall from the tree in my back yard – they all just give in to this season’s redemption.
And I breathe in deep and am grateful that I can’t stop it either, the life that’s taking shape out there, the life that will take shape in here shortly, if I let it.
Just about this time every year, my soul grows weary and the gray days carry on a bit too long and my soul shudders with the drudgery of every day. It’s true. Though I cling so tightly to life, I find it tiring. Just this weekend, I wondered about the point of it all. I get up, I work, I make dinner, I work some more at home, I go to bed.
Even on a bright sunny day a few weeks ago, when the sun on my back threatened to lift my mood, I found myself in the yard picking up sticks. The spring ritual of picking up sticks usually lifts my spirits, but on that recent day, I couldn’t believe I was just here, picking up the sticks again. And again. And again.
This same sameness that has imprisoned my soul and left me dreary has today delighted me. The same red bush just outside the front window, the same little buds falling lightly from the tree – today I welcome them, understand that they are from the hand of God who breathed the life into them that would welcome me back again. Back to life, back to joy.
And while these rhythms and patterns of seasons and days are needful, coaxing me cyclically to worship and adore, they also surprise me – 70 degrees in March – and remind me that I can’t plan everything. I can’t worry that the little red blossoms on the bush just outside won’t be there in April.
I just have to enjoy them today.
My black Labrador Retriever sits near my feet crunching up a stick from the backyard. My drudgery of stick gathering translates to pure canine bliss for her, as she experiences those fallen twigs with such abandon. First, the hunt, then the capture, then using her feet and her teeth and her tongue to break them into a hundred tiny pieces. And this on my recently vacuumed carpet.
But I’m not angry with her. I left the door open for her, in fact, so that she could freely move in and out, living room to backyard. She loves being the boss of her own comings and goings, especially when the sun is shining and the sticks are ripe for gathering.
She doesn’t know that I’ll have to gather up all the little stick pieces and vacuum again when she’s finished. And if she somehow could understand that, the knowledge wouldn’t change her desire. Though she lives a curled up life on the inside of the house most of the time, these Spring days beckon and she can’t help but go.
That’s the secret to living seasonally, I think. Experiencing the darkness in our souls during the hours and seasons of darkness, and when the sun shines, and the grass shivers soft and emerald, to let the life raise up from death all the way up into our heart and lungs, singing with the birds a new song because it’s the season for it.
That’s how to move from Winter into Spring. Do nothing to stop it.