“The snow has not yet left the earth, but spring is already asking to enter your heart.” Anton Chekov
The first rain of spring. I’m watching this year’s out my window as I write. The washing of air and dirt and sand and sidewalk. Despite the frenzied wind alongside, this rain does feel like a soft-spoken question, a first date blushing on the doorstep, a tentative step out beyond the long term relationship of a Colorado Winter.
Winter is rest, yes, and skiing and sledding and snow and frost and fun. It is also unyielding. At least it feels that way. The ground frozen, impenetrable. The burden locked on, binding and ironclad and stiff.
And then there’s spring. That shift where we turn our faces to the sun and feel warmth on our skin, not just light in our eyes. That permission to try again. Let go of something old. Be something new.
The analogy for me is an easy one. When I think back on my life, I picture it in terms of seasons. Seasons of joy, Seasons of shock, Seasons of abundance Seasons of scarcity, Seasons of adventure, Seasons of fear, Seasons of hope, Seasons of grief. Don’t we all? I picture you reading this and nodding your head as your own seasons play across your memory.
Personally, I have been in a long and brutal winter. I know I don’t always come across that way, but it is true nonetheless. A season that has felt as permanent and frozen solid as any January garden. I love J.K. Rowling’s quote about rock bottom being the “solid foundation upon which I rebuilt my life.” I actually have that quote posted in my office and reflect on it often. But the prequel to such a stance is that rock bottom is a long way down. The falling takes forever, with several false landings on the way that make you think, “Phew, at least we know how bad it can get now, and we’ve survived, alright then, no place to go but Up,” before rolling you off the edge and sending you falling again and again and again and again and again.
And the earth is not warmer down there. It is colder. Like winter.
Today though, feels like spring. And spring, I’ve come to believe, is an incredibly brave thing to be.
I think of those bulbs deep underground. Knowing that late season storms will come, being sure of the fierceness of the wind though unsure from which direction to brace yourself. Aware of the extent of work it takes to bloom, as well as the fragility of your current state. And with all of that, on top of being still sheathed in the hardened casings needed to survive The Winter, a Spring bulb releases a shoot that stretches toward the sky and lets its touch-tender skin unfurl beneath what has to come as a shockingly yellow sun.
That is courage.
Today, Spring’s example emboldens me to be brave as well. I can feel myself thawing a bit these days. Not looking at the light directly yet, but becoming willing to peek a glance in my strongest moments. I imagine miles of sun rays streaming down and scooping me up by my arms and holding me steady as I take my first Spring steps. I can sense the expanse of fresh air and room to grow that is just my next push or two away. I feel curious, in a looking-forward-to-the-surprise kind of way. Which is new for me.
Do you? I hope so. I hope that as you read this, with your own Winters that are ravaging on or wrapping up, that you can sense the spread of warmth inside your bones accepting the offer “spring is already asking.” That right alongside each other we can courageously bloom into fresh and new and open, and happily surprised–cheering each other on towards a light that is shockingly yellow and warm and ready. Because, living through all of the seasons we have, we are all, honestly, each one of us, Stunningly Brave.