“How many lessons of faith and beauty we should lose, if there were no winter in our year!” – Thomas Wentworth Higginson
There are things in our life that change us forever. Loss of a father, mother, sister, best friend, divorce, career changes. The depth of loss can bury us. Which is alright if we know that we won’t and shouldn’t remain there. We are meant to be changed, especially through the difficulty. What was has gotten us to now and has prepared us for what’s next.
And after we go through the mourning of life shifts and earthquakes, we gradually and then suddenly awaken to gratitude to what remains and hope in what is to come. We need to go through transitions, and keep moving, to open to transformation and grace.
In the midst of your winter, always remember that the gift of spring always comes. And there are gifts in winter as well. Fight the good fight.
“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” – Leo Tolstoy
“I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed… Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.” – Henry David Thoreau
A 5 degree swing and April showers turn into 7 more inches of winter. So often our expectations are out of line with reality. And we get stalled where we thought we should be. But where we are now in this very moment is where we are meant to be.
When we let go of our expectations, assumptions and fears, we open up to joy and delight even in the middle of a third Winter and delayed Spring. And what we thought we should have is less than what we receive in due time.
Under that fresh clean swath of brilliant white snow are seeds on their way to sprouts and buds. Remain in today with assurance and confidence that Spring will spring when it’s good and ready, as do we. Patience and time.
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Spring comes softly with a slow melt. Winter holds a bit longer. The transition lingers, unfolding rather than rushing. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, 6-8 inches of more snow. Life ebbs and flows and then turns upside down in a moment. And the only thing promised to us is this very moment.
So whether in the storm or in the slow melt, find the current and enter into the flow. Hear and feel the music in the melt. Running through the puddle season is coming. Slowly but surely.
“Music comes from an icicle as it melts, to live again as spring water.” – Henry Williamson
“Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life. Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall. Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone. Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring.” – William Alexander
No matter what the season or the day of the week, there’s more underneath the surface of our daily grinding. We need to trade in the grind for joyful daily living. In the moment, present to all that is being offered and confident that beneath the four feet of snow, Spring is in there coming in due time. In the meantime, we can make snow angels and dive into the pile of fresh snow. That snow shall do its job and awaken the ground with living water. Do your job. Enjoy this day and bring that joy to others.
“Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!” – Sitting Bull
“O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?” – Percy Bysshe Shelley
“It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.” – John Burroughs
Even in a -25 below day, the sun remains casting light, warming the earth, reflecting off the crystals. No matter the weather, no matter the circumstances, light always remains whether we see or feel it in that moment. Knowing that puts our shadowed frigid moments in perspective as they serve their purpose of transformation. Light always remains. That pull, that thread, that knowing is called hope.
We all have our seasons, our winters to testify to this truth. So, if you are in a -25 below pocket of time right now wandering and lost, suffering and empty, light remains holding you and patiently waiting for you to find it again. Always with you, never letting go.
Winter shall pass when it has done its work, preparing you for the transformation of spring. Grit and resilience breaks the frozen ground to bloom anew to discover yet again the depth of light.
“Spring stirs under silent snow.” – Terri Guillemets
Spring comes sooner when you get out and stir some snow, break a new path. Winter lingers with hibernation. So whatever winters you are going through right now, break out of the pattern of hibernation and get out into the middle of it.
In the midst of our difficulties, there are pockets of joy to burrow into and accept if but for a moment to plant seeds of hope. Spring is stirring. Easter always comes.
“If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” – Frank A. Clark
“Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you.” – John Muir
Reflection and remembering are the stepping stones on the path of gratitude and awe. A simple walk in the woods can transform our minds and surface our spirit. Rather than busily moving through time we become immersed in it, unaware of the clock and deep in the moment.
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir
In quiet repose, we move from reaction and positioning to creation and mere being. Amidst the waving trees, in the rhythm of the stream, in the heart of the meadow, we are called to enter and join the sweet harmony of nature. Eternal youth flows uninhibited and free for the taking.
The gift of spring lies in the simultaneous joining of promise and fulfillment to create a beautiful symphony of fragrance that radiantly flows from the soft petals of glorious color. All is made whole again with the onset of spring.
I am reminded a childhood hymn:
“For the beauty of the earth
For the beauty of the skies
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies
Over and around us lies
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise
For the beauty of the hour
Of the day and of the night
Hill and vale and tree and flower
Sun and moon and stars of light
Sun and moon and stars of light
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise”
When praise is far from your thoughts and lips, remain quiet until you can hear, see and feel the symphony of spring. And when winter arrives as it surely does, remember the symphony of spring can remain in our heart, if we allow.
Spring-phony all around, hill and vale.
We live our days in moments, often unaware of how special each one is, and we mark our lives with milestones and transitions – birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations and passings.
Today, my parents would have been married 58 years. See more on my parents in this post on their 53 years in 2012 on all that they taught me that remains this day, if not even stronger than ever before.
In 17 days, we mark the one year anniversary of my Dad passing away suddenly on April 28, 2016. The suddenly was good for him for sure, but not so much for us. We all still miss him every day and expect to the rest of our days. And the missing shows up in ordinary days, ordinary moments that we would have laughed about the same things or debated the topics of the day. It shows up in the first Christmas and the first Easter without him at the table.
So celebrate moments with those you love for those oh so ordinary moments will be what you most remember and cherish when they are no longer here. Forgive more, laugh harder, hug longer and be grateful for the many gifts that we all have that go unnoticed every day.
Happy 58th Anniversary Mom and Dad. Your commitment, perseverance, grit, faith and unconditional love transcends time and connects heaven and earth.
“Beauty is the only thing that time cannot harm. Philosophies fall away like sand, creeds follow one another, but what is beautiful is a joy for all seasons, a possession for all eternity.” – Oscar Wilde
Seeds hibernate to survive winter. Dormant, in waiting, quietly preparing for the ground to warm to break through to take in the light. Time passes, the sun lingers longer and the soothing rains turn the frozen ground soft. Soon the sleeping seeds awaken, unfold and diligently work their way through the crusted ground, revealing the miracle of life reborn yet again.
“Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach
The seeds achieve their potential, rejoicing in brilliant color and delicate texture. Strong enough to survive winter and fragile enough to show their depth of beauty. Seasons change on cue, the cycle continues, the struggle of transformation fades and the joy of fruition takes its rightful place.
Cycles, seasons and life ensue.