Updated: Jan 29
Finally, the weather is nice, the sun has made an appearance, the snow is (once again) melting into oblivion. As I write this on Tuesday afternoon, clouds are moving in, clouds that have potential for a spring thunderstorm, for the sort of cleansing rain that washes winter into the storm sewer. I just spent several minutes outside on our deck, listening to the birds in the back yard, teasing out the different voices from robins, chickadees, finches, sparrows. I watched a chipmunk dive into a dirt-filled garden pot behind the garage, his little paws digging with what looked like glee. My dog joined me on the deck, her ears moving this way then that, her nose twitching the entire time. A gray squirrel, alarmed at my dog’s presence, scampered up a nearby white pine.
My seasonal desire to be outside has awakened. The house feels oppressive unless the curtains are pushed aside, windows open wide. Would I crave the outdoors this much if I lived where there was no winter? I tend to think not. The seasonal variations Minnesota offers sharpen my appreciation of life cycles and shifting light, of the scent of the earth waking up once the snow has gone. As Easter looms, I remember Easters from my childhood, the unacknowledged symbolism of eggs and rabbits, the purchase of new clothes, the celebration of Lent’s end. The cycles of death and rebirth, dormancy and awakening, give us the context for new beginnings of all sorts, should we choose to recognize the opportunity.
I am more inclined to consider changes to my life in the spring than at the New Year. It makes more sense to me, this cleaning out of whatever isn’t working as the light grows strong enough to illuminate everything. I recently pitched clothes I don’t wear into a donation bag, rearranged cupboards, made a vow to stop using plastic food storage bags. Today, I worked on poem revisions after weeks of putting it off, no longer feeling uninspired to get the work done.
This shifting light, my muddy back yard, the houseplants on the windowsill leaning toward the sun, and the dog outside on the deck with eyes half open as she sits in a sunny spot — all of it is one big alarm clock telling me to get up, get going. How can anyone ignore the call of spring? I stretch my arms upward, happy and awake.
Less than a week ago, this was covered with several inches of wet, sloppy snow.