“LIFELESS IN APPEARANCE, SLUGGISH DAZED SPRING APPROACHES –THEY ENTER THE NEW WORLD NAKED, COLD, UNCERTAIN OF ALL SAVE THAT THEY ENTER.” Spring and All by William Carlos Williams
I had a rough few years a while ago and I have to admit I wondered many times why I had to go through what I did. I had it pretty rough. As my dad once said, “If the school of hard knocks gives out degrees, Jeanna would have five degrees by now.” It was definitely the winter of my life. It was cold, dark, and my face was constantly damp from tears. Now that I am coming up on celebrating a 4 year milestone in two weeks of leaving my winter behind me, I am finally seeing why my winter was so valuable.
Why is winter valuable to plants? It provides a resting period where growth is made in its roots, rather than its branches. So all those years that I struggled, I was developing some very strong roots. Winter also provides moisture and nourishment for when that blessed spring arrives. For a tree to really shine, it requires sun, water, and nourishment. Winter provides the roots with these things. And somehow, as it is forced to endure the gales and winds of storms, the roots dig in deeper into the frozen earth and build a stronger base.
So why this philosophical metaphor of how our trials are like the winter in our lives? Yesterday I got a chance to enjoy the first 65 degree sunny day, while reading a book and listening to baby chicks scratch and peck at the grass. It was such a treat to have three of my favorite things all at once. For those of you who have read Mr. Darcy’s Promise, you know I love chickens. Since I’m a little addicted to Pride and Prejudice, reading is another favorite, and soaking up the sun was just the icing on the cake. I felt such peace, such hope as I saw the first crocus peak its head out of the ground. And as I sat there pondering how different my life has been these last four years, I felt very grateful for winter.
I have a much stronger base then I did before my winter. And the underground growth that was happening, although unnoticed at the time, is truly evident now as I enter into my spring. I am blossoming, more than ever before in my life. Sometimes the harshest winters make for the most beautiful and welcome springs. I am so grateful for the eye moisture I received during my winter, for now I can write about the difference between dull, dark, and dead; and green, fresh, and new. I can write about and even dream about a future full of sunny days with pecking chickens and can now see that all that time I wondered why, I was growing a foundation that cannot be shaken. I was preparing myself for the happiest spring yet.
Now just to shake the deep philosophical nature of this post, the weather in Salt Lake City is known for its unpredictability. It is not unheard of to have snow in July. March is way too early to say that winter truly has passed, but the evidence that spring is coming, is all around me. For that, I am grateful. But to be honest, I often wish I could simply skip over the winter like Jane Austen does in Pride and Prejudice. In chapter 27 she simply narrates, “With no greater events than these in Longbourn family, and otherwise diversified by little beyond the walks to Meryton, sometimes dirty and sometimes cold, did January and February pass away.” Sometimes our walks in our winter are dirty and cold, but they will pass. Spring will come. I promise.
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