spring – noun, often 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.
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