I went out for a walk this morning and did not dress warmly enough. It was about 7:30 and the sun was in evidence in the east; it was big and golden but emitting minimal warmth, and I was more than halfway through my walk before I stopped feeling the chill. It is mid-March now and one expects warmer days. Spring begins next week—another time when we wish the calendar had some actual power. It is only a figurehead timekeeper, and the seasons wander promiscuously over its weeks and months, doing as they damn well please.
I will be happy to see the spring come. Though it was a mild and variable winter, producing almost no measurable snow, it has lingered well past its welcome—even for those few among us who do throw out a welcome mat for the coldest season. It occurs to me that in the past several months some of my posts here have been dour and depressing. This is likely due to the overall national mood as much as anything, as well as the tiresome round of changes in my personal life.
But I also see the good in winter. The Celts saw the coming winter not as a dark time, but as a time of building light—a distinction without a difference to some, but a very different emotional perspective. Winter is the time when we reflect, take stock, and find ourselves. If your spirit does not grow strong in winter, you’re going to have a hard time the rest of the year. As Kahlil Gibran wrote in The Prophet’s Garden:
And what, I ask you, is winter save sleep big with the dreams of all the other seasons?
As spring comes on, and I begin to look outside, breathe deep, look for greening leaves and budding flowers, I realize that I have not wasted the winter. It has been a time of producing things, of moving projects forward. It may be only in spring that those projects meet the world, but they were accomplished when the windows were frosty and the nights were long. For instance, I wrote this song, which I think is very good.
I also finished a chapter of my book, once called The Varied God but now called The Measure of the Year. I have worked on it for so long, and I can now see my way to the end of the project. There are two chapters left to write, plus an epilogue, and significant parts of those sections are already researched and outlined, so they should fall into place pretty easily. I know, that’s the coming season talking, but I like it. I am a willing sucker for the siren song of spring.
It was a chilly morning for a walk. No bikers and no runners passed me, only a few huddled figures walking to their jobs at Shop ‘n Save and the Dollar Tree. Even as I write this I am looking out the window at a gray and gusty morning, with little climatic indication of the changes I am so anticipating. But a while ago I saw a flicker scuttling up the tree out my window, busily pecking away in search of bugs, and I knew that some signs of spring are irrepressible.
Spring is coming, and only waiting for you and me to join it.