(Hi friends. How are you? It’s been a while. I’m sorry to those of you who I worried with my long absence, although I appreciate that you were worried because I know that means you care. But please don’t worry! I’m okay, I’m just struggling with my health right now and life is a bit blurry and that makes the whole writing thing rather slow and difficult. Plus I’m out of practice. But I miss it! So hopefully I’ll have another post sooner than four months.)
Spring is here. And it finally actually looks and feels like spring.
Winter seemed to go on forever, eh? Even when the calendar said it was spring, the weather said otherwise.
And while I am speaking meteorologically, I’m also speaking personally. It rained on end outside, but it’s also been kind of raining on end in my life. Nothing major, just the daily grind of life, of living in a broken body, of being sick every day and everything that comes with that. It takes a toll. I know it’s been months since I’ve posted anything here, but with all the rain all of my energy has been focused on not letting myself get washed away.
In some ways, the more you deal with the tougher you become, but in other ways, with enough rain, well it all just turns into mud. And there’s been a lot of mud lately. Not quite as much mud as my brother recently hiked through on the Dusky Track in New Zealand, but a lot of mud nonetheless.
As I mentioned, though, it does seem that actual spring is finally here. Outside, at least. Personally, I’m still stuck in winter, but when I look outside it’s definitely spring and that gives me hope. Because despite the unusually long, cold winter, and despite the well above average April rainfall, spring still showed up. Just like it always does. Just like it always will.
No matter what comes before it, eventually it always turns to spring. The tulips always bloom. The birds always start building their nests. All of these things happen every year. No matter how long or cold or dark or rainy or icy or snowy or gloomy winter is, winter always ends.
Spring always shows up. It’s dependable like that. And that’s encouraging.
But in other ways, it’s actually kind of discouraging, because spring is actually a lot work.
Think about it.
Those tulips don’t just appear by magic. They start out beneath the soil where it’s dark and lonely and they have to grow roots anyway. And then they have to find their way out of the soil, but sometimes squirrels dig them up before they even have a chance. And then they get to grow and bloom and be spectacular, except sometimes even if they’re doing a really great job growing and blooming the deer come along and eat them and there’s nothing they can do about it. It’s a lot of work being a tulip.
Same with being a bird. Some birds use the same nests each year, but a lot of them don’t. Come spring they start from scratch on a new nest. And birds usually only use a nest once so if they raise multiple broods each year, then that’s multiple nests every year. From scratch. It’s a lot of work being a bird, too.
And a human. It’s also a lot of work being a human.
Because we have seasons, too. They’re not as well-defined and as the ones that result from the Earth’s changing position relative to the sun, but we have seasons. Those gloomy and doomy and dreary and weary times? Those are winters. Sometimes our winters last for three months and sometimes they last for three years, but eventually things change for the better. Those better times are the springs. And just like the meteorological seasons, winter always ends and spring always shows up.
So sure, that’s encouraging.
Until you think about how much work spring is. And until you realize that eventually it’s going to be winter again and that winter is going to ruin everything. Again. So then when spring comes back it’s going to be a lot of work all over again. Finding your way out of the soil. A new nest from scratch. Over and over and over again.
Winter is harsh and spring is hard work.
Kind of discouraging.
But then I spent some time outside and noticed that winter doesn’t actually ruin everything.
Look at this Angel’s Trumpet in my backyard. Look at that new shoot. It’s growing right up from the middle of last year’s trunk. It’s not starting from the very beginning, from the soil. Winter didn’t ruin it. This tree weathered the long, cold winter, and that counts for something. All of its hard work from last year counts for something.
The new shoot is fragile, but its foundation is sturdy. Because it weathered the winter.
I think humans are the same. Fragile and sturdy. New and old. Finding our way and solidly rooted. All at the same time. Because we’ve weathered a lot of winters and our winters count for something.
Sometimes winter makes us tougher, and sometimes it just buries us in mud. Sometimes it does both. But that’s not what matters.
What matters is that we weather it at all.