Spring in the Air

I will be the first to admit that this has been one of the mildest winters in the Twin Cities since we moved here in 2007.  Still, the month of February was pretty brutal.

Yet, here we are in the second week of March with temperatures in the 50s-60s. As the UST shuttle I took back from the law school the other day afternoon approached the St. Paul campus stop, I saw a sight I have not seen in a very long time: throngs of students everywhere in the streets, jauntily walking around in long sleeves or light jackets.  I couldn’t help but smile.  Thank you, God.

My smile continued all the way home.  When it is horrendously cold, I travel the 1.25 miles between the shuttle stop and home by bus (or Dave picks me up).  But for the second day in a row, I walked home, jacket open, sun warming my face. Thank you, God.

I know we are likely to get some more cold days over the next month.  And, if past experience in the Twin Cities is any guide, we may even get another fall of snow.  But spring is in the air.  And, along with Gerard Manley Hopkins, I exclaim: Nothing is so beautiful as Spring!

Here is Hopkins’ poem, Spring:

Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden.—Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

Hope and the Lengthening of Days

I sometimes joke that my discernment around God’s invitation to move to the Twin Cities took an extra week as I kept asking God, “Are you serious? Minneapolis? I hate the cold; you know that! Are you sure you don’t mean someplace a tad bit warmer?” (And I can almost hear God chuckling.)

I freely admit that I am no fan of winter. Although I did ski a little in my twenties, and ice skated when I was a teen, I get cold very easily and during the winters here I sometimes feel like nothing I go can do will defrost the ice in my veins. I don’t like to hike in the cold; even the walk from the garage to the mailbox sometimes seems too daunting. I really don’t like the cold at all.

As we sit here in the early days of March, it is still cold, BUT BUT BUT, not as cold as even 10 days ago, AND the days are getting longer. A couple of weeks ago I was driving to work in the dark. Now, when I get up at 5:30a.m. and go downstairs to my prayer space, it is no longer completely dark outside. When I drive home at the end of the day, dusk still has not set in.

The days are getting longer, signaling that spring is coming. Oh, not tomorrow or the next day. We still have some time of cold weather ahead of us. But somehow they are easier to take now. The lengthening of the days is a sign of hope. We know that we can wait in hope for the coming of the season of awakening and birthing.

As long as we have hope, we can handle whatever we are faced with.

The Promise of Spring

It has been a long winter here in the Twin Cities. I was beginning to wonder if the snow and cold would ever end. (I was actually doing OK until the snowfall last week, which dropped three inches, again covering my lawn that was – before that fall – virtually snow-free.)

As the weather hit 50 yesterday, I remembered a quote by Dorothy Day about the resurrection of spring. Given the news about Libya, the continued suffering of the people of Japan, the concern about how state budget cuts will affect the poorest among us, it seemed a good quote to share as we begin the welcome spring:

It is surely an exercise of faith for us to see Christ in each other. But it is through such exercise that we grow and the joy of our vocation assures us we are on the right path. Certainly, it is easier to believe now that the sun warms us, and we know that buds will appear on the trees in the wasteland across the street, that life will spring out of the dull clods of that littered park across the way.

There are wars and rumors of war, poverty and plague, hunger and pain. Still, the sap is rising, again there is the resurrection of spring, and God’s continuing promise to us that He is with us always, with His comfort and joy, if we will only ask.

Spring reminds us that, no matter what we experience, God is with us always.

Spring

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of winter. The short days and the cold weather are no friends of mine. But, ah, Spring.

My first sing of Spring was that the amaryllis that my friends Maria and Michael sent me after their November visit started blooming last week. For months I watched the hard bulbs do nothing. Slowly the green shoots started forming and growing. Then, suddenly, a week or so ago, beautiful red flowers appeared. I look at them and smile (and whisper words of thanks for this wonderful gift from my friends).

I love watching the buds forming on the trees, listening to the birds, feeling the warmth in the air (even amid some remaining cold days), and seeing the sunshine. I love that I can take long walks and bicycle rides rather than going to the gym. I look, I listen, I feel – and I smile, and give thanks to God for spring.

I’ve written before of my love of the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Not being a poet myself, I share today his poem, Spring:

Nothing is so beautiful as spring—
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden.—Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.