I’m going to kick things off with a quote from the philosopher Murray:
“When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. “
As always, well said, Bill. But I’m not suggesting winter is worth living for; we’ve been there and done that already. No, I’m merely reminding you that winter doesn’t last forever. Even Phil Connors was freed from his time loop prison eventually.
It is intrinsically linked to the concepts of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection and regrowth. There are lots of “re’s” associated with this season, which is a sort of middle child in the seasonal family tree. Spring begins and ends at different points in time depending on where you lay your hat.
In the Northern Hemisphere (like in the land of those would-be world conquerors, the Germans) the astronomical equinox between March 19th and 21st marks the first day of spring, and the summer solstice around June 21st is taken as the first day of summer. In Persian culture the first day of spring is the first day of the first month (called Farvardin) which begins on the 20th or 21st of March.
According to the Celtic tradition, which is based solely on daylight and the strength of the noon sun, spring begins in early February, near Imbolc or Candlemas (Christmas for candles?) and continues until early May (Beltane).
As far as anyone is concerned, you are now a world traveler. You’re welcome.
But getting back to spring, many of us develop cabin fever over the course of the winter and it can suck the zeal out of you faster than a mother-in-law at a family dinner. Our pets feel the effects of winter too; being stuck inside for months instead of being able to roam free (and leave your waste all over my yard) isn’t easy for those with the instinct to run free. Squirrels and most other actual wildlife, whether they be domestic or otherwise, were also born to enjoy the warmer weather.
Fun fact: I shovel a path from our front porch to the tree in our front yard every time it snows so our local squirrel population can reach the treats and leftovers my wife leaves for them. She also leaves food out for the skunks, possums, rabbits, cats and whatever the hell else is roaming out there at night or waiting to chase me in the wee hours of the morning when I’m walking to work. Ain’t she the best?
But I think winter must be hardest on plant life. Can you imagine being rendered catatonic for months by your environment? Yes, I realize I just described every federal government employee on both sides of the border, but focus, people! Spring resurrects flowers and other plant life, which in turn gives life back to bees, birds and the homeowners in my neighborhood.
It brings back delicious scents, more hours of sunlight, moderate temps, green grass, vegetable gardens, the human desire to travel, leaves on trees (which you eventually have to rake up!), open windows, outdoor exercise routines, and a bunch of other stuff that I’m not smart enough to consider.
But it’s the rebirth part that should concern us most today. Spring is a perfect time to let hope back into your heart and give life a chance again. Step outside and let the warmer wind blow across the stress lines on your face. Let the sun dry your tears. Breathe in the scents of spring and let them rejuvenate your spirit.
Life is hope and no season better embodies life than springtime.
See you in the lobby, people…