“Hope Springs Eternal”
It may seem to be an eternal bleak, cold, icy midwinter as we shelter through February. Even today on Ash Wednesday as we intone the sobering words “We are dust and to dust we shall return!” we are expecting below freezing temperatures, snow, and an ice storm – AGAIN! However, below the surface of the hard, cold winter ground, there is infinitesimally small, subtle stirring as new life is preparing to emerge – AGAIN!
Spring does not officially make its entrance till March 20th, the date of the Spring equinox. But the signs of its unfolding seem to start often as early as February. I have heard of robin “sightings” in some of your yards. And I know that as early as mid to late February we all watch for tiny bud tips pushing through the earth, even through snow and ice to announce, “SPRING IS COMING!”
Who will claim the honor of spotting the first daffodil in his or her yard this Spring? I have heard that there are annual, informal competitions in our area for this “first.” Daffodils are often the earliest flower to push through the earth, stretch towards the light and bloom, even when winter seems unwilling to lose its grip on the world around us. Daffodils are a “sound off” to spring. What joy that spot of bright yellow brings to our hearts. They are a vision of hope that even the most deathly winter in Creation’s cycle of life is designed to give way to light, warmth, and renewal. A. A. Milne’s (1882-1956) dear little poem “Daffodowndilly” speaks simply but definitively to this bright little flower’s place in our hearts as we yearn for winter to turn into springtime:
She wore her yellow sunbonnet,
She wore her greenest gown.
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sun light,
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead”
If there was ever a winter that needed a spring to come sooner than later, it is this one. How graced we are to live where the seasons define themselves with clarity. Especially, the seasonal turning of winter into spring, when spring’s messengers brave the winter elements to appear early to let us weary of wintertime humans know that renewal is on its way. To spark hope and a soul grounded knowing that the world is continually, year after year, Easter graced as new life springs forth from what appears beyond hope. Spring’s messengers remind us of our (and their) Creator who says, “I make all things new again!” They remind us that we are given the opportunity to live into the Easter people we were designed, like all of creation, to be – over and over and over, again. So, throughout this Lenten season let’s turn to the south wind, turn to the sun light, scatter our Ash Wednesday ashes around our roots to nourish our growth so that when Spring does arrive, we can turn to one another and say, “We are alive; let’s bloom again!”
By God’s Amazing Grace, Spring is near.