The sun is out today, for what seems like the first time in months, but winter’s calling cards are everywhere. It could easily depress me if I let it.
Our small suburban side streets are still a mess. After the last storm, most folks dug out only enough to free their vehicles, leaving a patchwork of tar and snow. Sand is strewn over the narrow driving lane, making everything dirty. A stream that formed on our sidewalk is rushing the rapidly melting snow into the gutters at the bottom of the hill.
I stare out my window; a child’s snowman stares back from across the street. He’s actually only a blob with a hat, surrounded by footprints. However, his creator is about five years old, so he’s perfect, of course. He’s the ideal shape for a melting reference so I’ll say it…the sun beating down on him makes his hat look most unnecessary. I’m sure he won’t survive the day. I can’t tell whether his lemon eyes and little O-shaped mouth are expressing surprise or if he’s pleading with me to save him. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I won’t mind it when he’s gone because for once, I’m tired of the snow. We didn’t even get that much this year, really. My sister in Denver, she’s still getting regular blizzards, as are my brothers in northern New England, and my friends in Washington and Maine. I grew up in Rhode Island. I know what a lot of snow looks like, and this is nothing. It just feels like a lot this year.I heard a weather forecaster say it’s not over yet, and that there may be one or two more snowstorms before spring arrives. It just makes me sigh. All those dirty white mounds piled high around the lamp poles in the grocery store parking lots—where will they put more? Let’s hope today’s sun melts them down a few feet.
Still, as I look over the tired, dirty landscape, I can’t help but feel hope. I know that just five feet from the snowman, crocuses are sleeping under that blanket of whiteness. I can almost hear the roots of the brown grass and of the giant Norway Maple in the middle of my front lawn drinking deeply from the crisp, fresh water that seeps into the ground all around them. The tree sports tiny buds like tightly clenched fists, just waiting for the sign to let go.
Even now, there are robins on their way here, and the Canada geese are making flight plans for the long trip south. Mama cardinals are holed up in the trees all around us, keeping their eggs warm. Butterflies are nearly transformed, still snugly curled in their cocoons. Everything is about to change.
This is a time of hope and anticipation, especially for those of us who might be feeling weary. We can take heart because we know what’s coming, despite the apparent bleakness. We’ve been here before. We can hang in there. Just a few more weeks. Regardless of the shadows, and no matter how cold it gets, whatever you’re going through right now—know that it’s temporary and something joyful is on its way. Take heart, spring is coming.