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Spring Lessons

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American poet and writer, Archibald MacLeish said, “Spring has many American faces. There are cities where it will come and go in a day and counties where it hangs around and never quite gets there…” (“Sweet Land of Liberty” Collier’s 8 Jul 55)

I am not sure we here in New England could say one way or the other what our springs are like. Some years we have long, luscious springs and other years we have mud, mud, and more mud and suddenly it is summer. Then, there are the years when it’s mid-April and we still have a foot of snow in places!

Over the past week, the snow has slowly pulled its blanketing whiteness from my garden. First, the head of my garden angel emerged. What a surprise! I had forgotten he was there. Then, slowly over the next few days, more and more of the earth showed. Today, I was delighted to find three crocuses sticking their little purple heads above the mulch.

I love this time of year! It really is about rebirth and renewal. Is it any wonder that we observe Easter and Passover during the spring season? Everything around us is changing, growing, blooming. It makes one think…

Faith, or the ability to believe in things we cannot see, is the virtue of spring. All winter, we look out into our yards and gardens dreaming of the day when we can lounge on the lawn or fuss among the flowers. Faith is what keeps us from despair when yet another snowstorm hits. Faith is what stirs us to listen for robins and peepers. Additionally, Faith is what nudges us to pick out seeds, look for bright clothes, and put the snow gear away after the first thaw. Nothing around us testifies that our world will turn warm and green; we simply believe it will be so.

The wonderful thing about our Faith is the reward we receive each year. True, some years deluge us with color, scent and sound, while other years we must look hard to see signs of life. However, whether in profusion or sparseness, each spring brings us just a step closer to understanding the simple complexities of the cosmos.

When I was in kindergarten, Miss Foster gave us all seeds to plant. We put them in little glass jars with cotton balls inside to hold the seed up against the glass. We wet the cotton and kept it wet for days. Then came the miracle…the seeds began to grow. By the time I brought my seed home, it has already grown two tiny leaves. It was, in essence, the first time I gave “birth.” What magic!

About two weeks later, the little seed (which was now snuggly placed in earth and a flowerpot) had grown to be a small marigold, complete with a flower. I was so proud of her, my marigold. I talked to her and told her I would take good care of her. However, as with most five-year old children, I got busy with other things and forgot her. One day, as I passed the window, I noticed her crumpled form. I cried and cried. My marigold had died.

My mom, however, told me a secret. She showed me how to take the seeds out of the flower head that had dried up. We saved them and started new plants. In this simple act, I experienced my first Circle of Life from birth to death to birth again. At that exact moment, I began to understand just what Faith was.

Each spring I remember this lesson. I remember how the simplest things in Nature can teach us the most difficult of Life’s lessons. I remember that when you have Faith you can accomplish great things. Most of all, I remember that even when it seems like you have miles to go to find the tiniest of spring blooms, eventually, they appear and, in no time, turn into summer’s glory!

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