Thursday, March 19, 2015

Needing Spring

Winter started out mildly - both literally and figuratively.  Reasonable temps, very little snow, happy moments, holidays and plenty of rest and joy. But, February hit hard -- snow, windchill, work, LIFE. With so much cold and darkness last month, my body and my soul long for spring and the past week has provided hope that warmer weather and happy days are on their way.

This weekend, we had our first real glimpses of spring in DC!  Dave and I took a nice long walk on the W & OD trail and enjoyed dinner on our patio one evening.  Dave wore a short sleeve polo and I wore a light jacket (good bye puffer coat!) to church on Sunday.  It was nice to run errands and not step in melting snow on my way out of the store. I even tried on my Easter dress as a way to celebrate the seasons changing (lovely dress, but PALE legs -- time for some sunless tanner!)

During our Sunday walk, I enjoyed the warm sunshine on my back while the cool breeze ran through my hair. I admired the wildflowers and tulips poking up from the ground and smiled at the kids riding their bikes past me. It seemed that the whole world was outside, enjoying the entrance of spring, celebrating that warm days do indeed follow the cold ones!!

I made a mental note to buy new sunglasses since I plan on spending as much time as I can outdoors over the next couple months.  I daydreamed of taking spring walks/runs each evening after work - AUDIOS gym, I am moving this gig outdoors! But, Dave reminded me that the sun is still setting between 7 and 7:15 so I shouldn't get too ahead of myself.  In a rare moment where I am more optimistic than Dave, I reminded him that sunset will continue to happen later and later, so SOON there will be daylight left for evening walks...we just have to eagerly wait!

The warm weather not only rejuvenated my body, it lifted my soul as well. What is it about the spring that beckons us to hope? The long awaited sunshine encourages us to believe the best about others, ourselves and our circumstances.  If temperatures can warm up, so can our lives, right?  Or at least our attitudes and perspectives. February was a tough month - and in a strange way, I am thankful for the snow and coldness because it forced me to hibernate, recover and rest. But, I am grateful for the past few days hinting at spring's soon arrival. I am looking forward to warm weather, cooler nights, sunshine, flowers peaking out of green grass, birds chirping, and leaves on the trees again!

What I love about living in this area of the country is that I get FOUR distinct seasons. Down south, we get all of the seasons too, but the spring and fall are oh so short and the winter is more rain than snow.  Essentially we have cold and wet or hot and humid with a few glorious fall and spring days separating the two extremes!  Our first year in DC, I remember feeling like I was reading a children's book - with illustrations of each season - except that I got to live out each picture! Hot sweaty summer days, walking through crunchy leaves, snuggling inside during snow storms and flowers peaking out through the snow, welcoming spring to come.

I think it's interesting that God allows us to experience four seasons because each season is representative of life stages and struggles. Of course, our life stages don't always line up with the calendar seasons, but we go through seasons too. Summer brings warmth. blessing and abundance. Even as a kid, we knew that summer was not the norm.  Pool days, beach trips, summer camps, sleeping in and ice cream trucks were wonderful but not the status quo, definitely not sustainable.  Fall reminds us of change and new experiences. Like spring, fall is a season that bids farewell to the old and ushers in the new. It is a time to grow and change and be challenged.  Winter is the least favorite season of many. It has shorter darker days, cold winds and snow storms -- but it also serves as a time of rest and recovery, reminding us that life can be found even in the cold moments. What I like about winter (particularly January and February) is that it gives us an excuse to hibernate and heal when life throws snowstorms our way (or when you are just tuckered out from a busy holiday season!)

But spring may be my favorite season. It is the arrival of NEW and WARM -- new flowers, new baby animals, warm breezes, lots of sunshine, new leaves on the trees! Spring brings life, growth and hope -- all three are things I am eager  to see in my own life. Spring is a time to shed our thick coats and come out into warmer weather. How wonderful that the most hopeful of seasons comes after the darkest one.

So, hurry up spring. Arrive for good. We need you, we patiently wait for you. We will enjoy and adore every wonderful morsel of your warm weather, cool breeze goodness.

(Writer's note: I drafted this earlier this week, but since then, the weather advisory for tomorrow is rain and snow flurries -- that's right, a chance of snow on the first official day of spring. <SIGH>  Luckily, the warmer weather seems to pick back up over the coming week.  Winter will not win. It will not get the best of us. Spring is surely on its way!)

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