“There’s something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring comes after winter.” – Rachel Carson
Three doves strut on the roof outside the window, moments after I sit on my own perch with my first cup of coffee, wondering where they are this year. It is the Vernal Equinox. And they appear. The only signs of spring. Except for the slowly diminishing piles of blackened snow and the ice that has begun to melt on the skating pond down the street.
I fly across the country about every six months to visit my mom. The last couple times I have observed a difference. She’s a little frailer, a little slower, a little more in pain. Maybe because I only see her twice a year I notice more. Despite her physical shell she is still herself; her character remains intact, her mind sound. A blessing. And I know long after she’s gone her spirit and love will remain. But still it is hard. It takes me a day to adjust after I arrive, to be able to just enjoy the essence of who she is, for the vision I have of her each week as we talk on the phone dates back sixteen years.
There was a light rain last night. A comforting sound to a visitor from Southern California. It is sunrise but the sky is gray. The song of the morning doves echo the somber greeting to spring. Before long the crocus will be poking their heads through muddy brown lawns as they did on my visit last year and yellow forsythia will brighten the barren landscape. But today feels bleak. After a long winter here, as in many parts of the country, spring will be appreciated more than ever.
Perhaps I’ve been away from New England too long? Just as I had to adjust to the much more subtle change of seasons when I moved to the Southwest sixteen years ago, I am now reminded of the patience required in awaiting the colors of spring in the Northeast. Last week, before my trip, I hiked Golden Door mountain, taking in spring as if I could carry it in my suitcase. Our winter had been exceptionally mild, with many days in the 80’s and barely any rainfall, except for a few inches in late February. Sadly, the drought forced the wild mountain lilac to keep its reserves and not dot the mountain with purple as it had done each spring before. But fruit trees had been flowering for several weeks already and the wisteria had burst forth, a full month early. And my favorite eucalyptus were in bloom, scenting the air with the unique and exotic aroma of their fuzzy yellow pom-pom-like blossoms.
Nature’s repeated refrains of seasons, sunrises, sunsets, growth and decay are great metaphors for the cycle of our own lives. Some years we blossom more than others, other years we choose to remain dormant. We can persevere through hardship like a tree whose branches are snapped off by strong winds or heavy ice, and return to full vitality in the spring. Or, after enduring many winters the tree reaches the end of it’s lifespan and can no longer renew itself.
A robin sings. A jay seems to answer. Mom’s snores from the room below grow louder. Sweet sounds. The morning doves have flown off. Bare branched trees sway gracefully in the March wind. Pink clouds have parted. One more day begins. One more cup of coffee. Whether we sense it or not, spring is here.
For more mindful musings on winter’s transcendence to spring, read the March chapter of “Twelve Mindful Months: Cultivating a Balanced & Fit Body, Mind & Spirit” by Carol Tibbetts. Stay on the mindful path with me by signing up to get future blog posts delivered directly to your inbox.