Spring is always uplifting, always rejuvenating, always full of hope.
But after watching 64 springs come and go, I know that I can get a little jaded. I mean, of course I’m happy when the first few crocuses open and the daffodils start to push themselves up through the straw and pine needles.
The thing is, I am old enough to know that here in New England, it might snow again before it’s really time to relax and enjoy the weather. Yesterday I walked through my yard and what caught my eye was the mud, the downed branches, the many piles of deer poop all over the place. I saw the winter. I saw the work ahead of Paul and I. My back gave a twinge at the thought of raking up all those moldering oak leaves.
Spring. Yay. Whatevs.
But today. Today was a completely different experience.
That’s because today my grandchildren were here with me and we went outside to play right after breakfast. It was cloudy, there were puddles on the driveway, and every step resulted in the squishing of mud and poop and mulch under our boots.
I dragged out a lawn chair and plopped myself down as the kids began to race around the yard.
And they opened up my eyes and my heart in a way that only young children are able to do.
“Nonni!!!!” Johnny shouted it out with all the power of his almost four-year-old lungs. “Nonni! I see a beetle!!!!!!!” The nearly microscopic black beetle was crawling over a tiny rock in my flower bed. I would never have seen it in a million years, but Johnny did. His absolute delight had us both kneeling in the wet grass to watch the tiny creature make his arduous journey.
“Do you think he’s looking for food? Do you know where he’s going? I wonder if he’s a baby or a kid or a grownup bug.”
I had no idea, but I was thrilled to watch the light shining off of the back of the little beetle, seeing it reflected in John’s dark eyes.
“Oh, Nonni!” This time it was five year old Ellie shouting with glee. “Nonni, remember that sand we used to play in? It’s still here!!!”
A part of me chuckled, and thought, “Of course the sand is still here. This is my yard. It has sand.” Unfertile, annoying sand, right there over my septic field.
But the rest of me smiled, and opened my arms. Ellie ran into them, hugged me hard, and raced away to find a bucket. “Sand! And it’s WET! Sand castles!!!”
The kids are amazed and thrilled with everything this spring. The wet sand is an old friend who survived the long, long winter. The tiny beetle is a miraculous creature on his way to great adventures.
The red buds on the tips of the maples? Astonishing! How beautiful they are when we look up and see them against the blue blue sky!!!
The tiny shoots of grass that are beginning to turn green? Wow! Who could have possibly predicted that would happen?
And when the temperature rose suddenly today, and we went from 60 to 78 in a half hour, these two little ones peeled off their shirts and danced in circles around and around the pile of brush that we will need to burn soon.
Like beautiful woodland sprites, the held hands, they turned in circles, they shouted and laughed and kept calling out to me. “Nonni! Look! Do you see it? Oh, Nonni!”
Spring belongs to these young ones. Just as the future belongs to them. The purest joy in simply being alive, breathing in the warming air, celebrating the sight of a butterfly. All of these belong to the youngest among us, who are still innocent enough to be enchanted by it all.
I am so grateful that they are still willing to share that joy and amazement with me. I am so very grateful that I’m able to see the beauty through their eyes.