Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Fever

Spring has come, as it has always come, with the occurrence of the astronomical “Vernal equinox,” when the sun’s most direct rays cross over from the southern hemisphere into the northern hemisphere.  It happened at 6:29 a.m. (eastern standard time) this morning.  

Spring to me used to mean doing things.  I remember those springs of long ago, when as a boy I could not wait for the school day to end so that I could get on to more important things.  I was eager to slush through the left-over snow of winter to the brook behind our house and turn over rocks to see what new life might appear underneath.  Usually a garter snake could be found or a salamander beneath those stones. They were “early birds,”  braving the still brisk wintry air, to come out of winter hibernation.  I remember being eager to see if the brook had been stocked with trout for the fishing season that began in late March.  I would go to the “spring house,” sit on the old log there, and check out the watercress which I would later collect and share with family and neighbors.  I always looked for frog eggs, too, a sure sign that spring had arrived. I hiked along the stream searching for signs of new life and it seemed to be happening everywhere, in the yellowish-green leaves of the willow trees and the little tufts of green grass poking up through the slush and snow.   It was a springtime ritual of those days long ago to look for new signs of life.

I can still feel the joy I knew then in those springtime adventures.  I can still hear the peepers that announced “spring” in the evenings, and still see the sun that proclaimed it each morning—just as it did this morning.  Spring to me used to be doing these things, but I doubt that I’ll be turning over any rocks today, or checking to see if the streams have been stocked with trout.  I’ll not be out looking for watercress, garter snakes or salamanders.  Now, in this stage of life, spring has become not a “doing,” but more like the fulfillment of a divine promise, a kind of just “being” cognizant of the fact that hidden beneath the snow, the rocks, and everything else in life (problems, disappointments, disease and illness, yes, and even old age) there lies hope and resurrection possibilities.  As Mark Twain so aptly puts it, “It’s spring fever…when you’ve got it, you want, oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so.”

Fair Haven (Home) on the First Day of Spring 2017

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