We are now into the second week of March. Meteorologists say the spring season begins March 1, although the vernal equinox is still 11 days away. Having lived in Wisconsin for more than 40 years, I know there is nothing magic about March 1st or March 20th, though. We may yet see more snow and more cold regardless of what the calendar says.
Still, we know the weeks of winter are waning. Each day there are a few more minutes of daylight. The sun rises and sets further north along the horizon. What snow we get doesn’t seem to last long once Sister Clouds part and Brother Sun emerges. There have even been a few reported robin-sightings in the area. Patches of grass are appearing where snow cover was thinnest, even though most of the grounds are still snow-covered.
Witnessing the transition from one season to the next is nothing new. After all, we do it at least four times each year. Each transition brings with it different feelings. This transition from winter to spring is one of hope, a hope that grows a bit stronger each day just as the sunlight does.
Soon the Grounds Committee will meet to plan for spring clean-up and spring planting even though the gardens are still asleep beneath a blanket of white. Soon, we can begin looking for signs of rebirth: green shoots emerging from the brown earth, and green buds breaking forth from barren limbs. Soon, but not yet.
In the midst of those feelings of hope, those plans for the future, we also accept that winter is not quite ready to let go. The old adage is three times the snow must fall on the robin’s back. It seems like the first snow may be this evening. The long-range forecast predicts we will have three or more chances for snow by the end of next week. But we continue to hang on to that hopeful feeling, watching that light grow at the end of our winter tunnel and knowing spring has never failed to return, eventually.
Hanging on and letting go. Hoping and waiting. Planning and patience. These are all part of transitions, the ebb and flow in nature as well as in our daily lives. Like the transitions in nature, we often have little control over the transitions in our lives. All we can do is hang on to the glimmers of light and the glimpses of hope.
For the hope that comes with the waning of winter, and for the blessings of transitions, we say Deo Gratias!