It happens every winter. We go into the holiday season with a mix of joy and trepidation, knowing that the months ahead will be cold and stormy, but happy to think of the celebrations that await us.
Then the new year begins, and the winter nights begin to bite. We are cold. We are shivering. We begin to hate the early nights and the icy dark mornings. The flu comes in, and the snow piles up.
Every year, every single year, we tell each other, “This is the worst winter ever!” We are sure that the air is colder, the ice is thicker, the flu is more severe. We are sure, every year, that this is the one that will put all the other winters to shame.
I can usually keep my sense of humor until about February 1st. I am generally able to assure myself that there hasn’t ever actually been a winter without an end. For the most part, I can convince myself, in the shivery hours of a winter night, that some day the earth will truly tilt back on its axis, and that warmth will return.
But when there are still snow piles in my driveway on the first of March, I start to doubt my own sense of reality. When the weathermen are still talking about nor’easters in March, I begin to despair.
Deep in the icy cold of midnight, little voices in my head begin to whisper that the forsythia have died and will never come back. When I am looking out into the woods on another snowy dawn, I feel a prickle in my spine telling me that I have seen my last daffodil. I shiver, and I look out at the grey that is all around me.
I begin to believe that this time its true; this time spring will never come.
And its always at exactly that moment, when my hope is at its lowest, that the snow pulls back just enough to show me the tips of the tulips pushing through the frozen earth. This is precisely the moment when I begin to sense the pink buds that are slowly forming on the very tips of the maple twigs.
And every single year, every single spring, the daffodils poke up, the lilac buds swell and the peepers start to sing in the marsh.
I so love the inevitability of spring!