I remember sitting on the concrete at the kids’ school on a mid-November morning, with the sun shining down on me, feeling not the warmth in the air, but the absence of cold. I sat there thinking, “This is probably the last time I will feel warm outside for 5 months.” A few days later, it snowed, covering all the still-green grass in white. Winter came again.
Today we went for a bike ride. And in our very hilly neighborhood, with one kid still using training wheels, we invariably wind up riding around the school parking lot at the end of our ride. It is one of the only flat areas near us and provides a nice cool-down after climbing the neighborhood hills. I sat again on the concrete today. Actually I laid on the concrete on my back, the roughness of the sidewalk made acceptable by the warmth that was emanating from it. I stared up into the sky feeling the warm spring sun kiss my skin as it fought to peer out from behind the gray clouds. I laid there very still, concentrating on all my senses, and thinking about the breeze that was hitting my face. I became aware of the fact that there was no cold slap to it. There was actually almost an edge of warmth to the air and I realized that, once again, I have emerged from winter.
It is, for me, a victory. I feel winter so deeply, the sorrow, the dulling of my senses, the dread. So when spring arrives, I am keenly aware of the fact that I come alive. Every year my gardens seem like a miracle all over again. I can’t understand how such delicate creations that need to be tended so carefully during the summer can possibly survive the harshness of the winters here. And yet, every year they emerge, just as I do. Yes, for me when spring comes all things really feel new, and fresh, and beautiful.
It is a roller coaster though, to experience such extremes of emotion every year and it leaves me asking, how many years do I want to do this? But then I wonder, would I really be better off in a place that leaves me feeling monotonously warm and relatively cheerful all year? Perhaps the contrast between how I feel in winter in Minnesota and how I feel in spring and summer is actually a good thing. Whether I prefer it or not, I cannot argue with the fact that it provides me with sharp edges to my emotions. The contrast gives me an appreciation for the fact that yes, winter always comes again, but so does spring, and it reminds me that there is, actually, always hope.