When I lived in Wisconsin, I was told it was bad luck to say farewell to winter, because it could always come back. As I write, the day is beautiful and sunny. By the time you read this, there’s no telling. Could be spring breezes. Could be snowstorms. The Farmers’ Almanac tells me the average last frost date here is April 20. We can’t expect this time of balance, of equinox, to go smoothly. It would be nice if each day were just a tad warmer and we could ease gently from winter to summer.
But that’s not how it works. Think of the year as a seesaw: in winter, there is a pause as one end touches the ground; when the other end touches down, it is summer. Spring, like fall, arrives when both ends are in mid-air. No one pauses there, unless they’re making trouble. Ironically, the point of balance is the most transitory, the most unstable point that there is. No wonder the weather fluctuates. Spring exists only as an in-between point.
In spring, we live in the midst of transition. That’s what transition is like – we know something’s changing, but can’t quite yet see the shape of what is to become. The time of transition may be a time we have felt the presence of death or depression, or when we have recognized a bad habit but not yet changed it. It can be falling in love or preparing to give birth. In transitions, we don’t know what to expect. Hope and fear compete for our attention. Our feelings bounce around unexpectedly, outside our control.
Like being in spring, all we can do is prepare ourselves for what may come, keep checking the environment to see if we need a coat or a T-shirt, an ice scraper or sunscreen. And enjoy what may come, as much as possible.
The 17th century Japanese poet Matsuo Basho wrote:
beside blooming irises –
joys of life on the road .
May your spring be full of joys of life on the road, along with the deep appreciation of them.
In faith and freedom,