Sunday, March 27, 2011

Wonder and gratitude

When you make Michigan your home, you get a lot of practice waiting for spring. The seasons are inexorable, impassive, totally beyond our control. It's why I love this place, why I returned here to live, why the mitten will always be my home. I'm from here—it's inexplicable and deep-rooted, my love and belonging for this place.

The seasons are part of what makes it home, and the thing I've always been most homesick for when I've left. They shape us. The light, the shape of the clouds, the wind—these as much an emotional barometer as they are signals of the season to come.

Late February has finally given way to March, and despite the enduring cold, early light and green sunshine have brought us to the edge of hope. We've entered into the time when we count the signs of spring.

  1. The first robins have appeared, fat and rosy and early morning is filled with the song of birds. Voices I have not heard for months, and had forgotten the smile it brings.
  2. The crocuses and snowdrops are blooming, unexpected splashes of color nestled in the sheltered corners of the yard, half-hidden beneath last fall's leaves. The sedum and tarragon on the porch are beginning to sprout, and the mums and daffodils are starting to come up in the garden. 
  3. The last patches of snow are receding, and we all hope (even though we know better) that we'll not see more ice and snow til next winter. We're tempted to put away our winter coats and boots.
  4. The first seeds are planted and watered, nestled on the back porch and in the dining room. I am dreaming of summer's fragrant herbs, the buzzing of bees, the bursting flavor of the first tomatoes.

It's good to be here. To have made it through the last week's ice and rain that made the body recoil and the mind recede to some dark inner place. To have now seen the other side of March's cruel wind, the snapping of the bare trees, the dripping and freezing. 

Spring is not here yet, but the sun's promise and the stirring of growing things lifts my heart. That I might share that sense of wonder, that my gratitude may be like warm light on the earth.

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