As I write, we are coming out of the deepest freeze I have been through since I moved away from Wisconsin in 2000. The sun is shining, and I am ready to believe that spring is coming.
In the sunshine, we can imagine springtime returning to our lives. Many of you have received vaccinations. Our democracy survived an insurrection. We are beginning to believe that we, too, may survive.
At the same time, we are aware that not everyone did survive, and that not everyone will survive. We know that human mortality is real. And that it will be awhile before we are gathering in person in the ways we used to. Still, we are encouraged that spring may be around the corner.
In ancient times, people may have been more aware of the passing of the seasons. They lived closer to the beauty and terrors of the natural world. They created stories to explain, explore, and grasp the cycles of nature. Stories like that of Osiris’s life and death, of goddesses of fertility like Cybele, Inana, and Eostre, of the connection between daughter Persephone and mother Demeter. Remembering the tales reminds us that spring, though new each year, is never really new. It has come again and again.
This year, though, we don’t even get a spring break! Despite that, this month is a good time to reconnect with spring and the natural cycles. Get ready for flowers and thunderstorms, for moderating temperatures and prairie burns. Look forward to relaxed outdoor strolls and sitting in the sun.
One of the great teachings of the natural world is that cycles endure. Even now, as we brace ourselves through climate change, the cycles of the seasons continue. They offer me an anchor–a belief that through the changes, a thread continues to link and weave, a piece of that interconnected web of all existence. I remember the Japanese traveling poet Matsuo Basho who wrote in the seventeenth century:
beside blooming irises – joys of life on the road.
I connect with his joys so terribly long ago and remember my own joys. I am glad and rejoice in the coming of spring. I hope you do, too.
Contact Rev Jonalu Johnstone at firstname.lastname@example.org.