As storm after storm blanketed us with foot after foot of snow,
As I dumped epsom salts into a hot bath to soothe shovel-sore muscles,
As I ordered slightly irregular wool tights off the internet,
As tracked-in slush and salt and sand discolored the floor tiles,
As water drip-drip-dripped from the crack in my kitchen ceiling,
it was difficult to imagine that spring would one day arrive.
Yet today I sat in my driveway as the breeze carried maple flowers into my open book and my children laughed together and hid from dragons in shrubbery castles. The crocuses’ short tenure is over, but the daffodils are open, and we still have tulips to look forward to, if the deer don’t eat them all. Hopeful tom turkeys are displaying for hens in suburban backyards, and I’ve been finding blue eggshells on the sidewalk, proof that there are baby robins overhead.
It’s a good reminder, spring. It reminds me that, no matter how bleak things look, there is always renewal somewhere down the line.
When my son was born and my daughter became someone I didn’t recognize and I would answer “never” when friends with one child asked when was a good time to have a second, I couldn’t see any light.
When my spouse was laid off, it took all of the color out of that spring and not even the Utah sun could warm me.
When Massachusetts wasn’t remotely what I’d expected it to be and I felt so lonely and lost, all I could do was fantasize about escape because I couldn’t imagine feeling better here.
But I did feel better.
The kids grew to play together and help each other.
My spouse got a new job that he loves.
I’ve embraced the lessons and friendships that New England has brought me.
Each time, the light crept back in. I did my best in each case to change what I could, but most of the time, the best I could do was change my outlook, reconcile myself to the darkness.
I woke up today in the chill of the morning and thought, “Well, Christmas is on its way.” I paused. Are we coming into spring or just leaving autumn? It’s tough to tell in the early morning. I smiled at my momentary confusion about which direction the cold was going and reminded myself that, while winter surely would be here again, we’d have berries and swims in the lake and weekly trips to the farm stand and digging in the dirt before we’d have snow again (knock wood). For now my job is to soak in not only the warmth and the breeze and the colors but also the faith in the cycle that brings us warmth after cold and light after darkness.
That faith is my best defense against the inevitable cold, dark times. And in the middle of the darkness, I need to remember to brace myself, because the darker it is, the brighter the light when it shines again. The colder the winter, the more glorious the spring.