Spring Forward

Spring is in the air. It’s also blanketing every surface of the landscape in a powdery yellow coat of reproductive glory.

Pollen is its own season down here.

Allergy symptoms aside, what’s not to love about spring? The sun sticks around a little longer at the end of the day, new life is everywhere, and I get to wear my sandals again. Here in south Georgia, winters are usually mild, but we still experience a brief season of bleak gray skies and bare trees (although this year brought us rogue snowfall). The soft sounds, colors and textures of spring are a balm to the soul.

Wisteria
The invasive and lovely wisteria vine

But spring is a tease. Autumn is sultry and languorous as she strolls in to replace the heavy, humid days of summer, but at least her emergence is steady and reliable. Spring appears out of nowhere, beckoning the birds and the tender green plants to come forth into the welcoming sunshine, only to vanish behind one last blast of winter the minute I pack away my sweaters and boots. It happens every year. So now I hasten the event by pulling out my summer clothes in February.

Hope and sunshine

Now that (I think) winter is over, I feel lighter and more optimistic. The longer days are energizing and the air is sweet. It’s always such a relief, like the splendor of dawn after a long, painful night. It’s a promise that nature never breaks; no matter how cold and dark the night, the sun always comes out tomorrow. The beautiful psalm of David reminds us:

“…weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

Rainbow

Trust in this promise has sustained me so many times over the years, when I thought a problem couldn’t be solved or a struggle would never end. Always remember: this too shall pass. So I celebrate the arrival of spring even though my furniture is covered with the pollen that snuck in from outside, and that new growth in my yard looks more like weeds than grass. Life is good.

Think about it: Spring brings the hope of a bountiful fall harvest, and of future generations carrying on when the old one has passed. Whatever we plant in this season, good or bad, bears fruit in the next. When I was younger, I didn’t fully grasp the implications of this truth, but I do now. My attitudes and actions today can have an effect on my life and the lives of others, perhaps indefinitely. It’s important to recognize that I always have choices. If I want my future to be filled with anxiety, strife and competition, life presents me with ample opportunity to practice that now. But if I want a life of gentleness, compassion and hope, I need to cultivate those qualities today.

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Life happens in our own backyards

My little suburban neighborhood is home to a surprising cast of wildlife, like the rabbits that appear under my neighbor’s azalea bush in the early mornings or at dusk. The sight of them absolutely charms me. My husband Ret and I spend a lot of time watching the antics of the squirrels and birds that visit our backyard. The cardinals and robins come back every year to start their families, and those daredevil squirrels are my favorite comedy act.

We’ve concluded Comcast is a waste of our money; the real entertainment is outside. It’s not free; last month I spent almost as much money on birdseed as I spent on dog food. But it’s worth every penny for the respite from the stress of the daily grind and stories dominating the news lately. There’s no partisanship in my backyard – the squirrels and birds manage to coexist and share the seeds just fine. No lobbyists, either, although Mr. Cardinal will hop up on the windowsill and inform us, very vocally, when the feeders are running low.

I think when I retire, I’m going to become a bird watcher, just so I can translate birdsong. The chorus in my neighborhood sounds like this:

“Judy, Judy, Judy, Judy!”

 “Cheater, cheater, cheater, cheater, cheat!” I wonder who he’s talking about.

“Pretty, pretty, pretty!” This one must be Louie’s friend.

I love stepping out on the patio in the early morning to listen to them when they think they’re the only ones awake. It’s an everyday enchantment.

Stop and smell something

Whatever you’re doing today, take a moment to pause at the wonder of it all. Just when you can’t do one more day of winter, the earth emerges from her long cold nap, rested and ready to welcome the glory of new life. How wonderful that it happens every year. Don’t miss it!

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Late bloomer. Empty nester. Loves dogs, yoga and a good cup of chai. Perennial daydreamer making the second half of life more joyous and fulfilling than the first.

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