If you live in many parts of the northern U.S., you've probably been saying to your friends, "Winter was hard this year, wasn't it?" And your friends have been nodding their heads, squinting their eyes, and pulling their sweaters closer around them. Those of us in the northeastern states still look pale and shellshocked from all the snow, the ice, the darkness, the Polar Vortex, the fear that maybe this time spring really wouldn't come. Starting a few weeks ago, we began to see photos from our friends down south and in more moderate climes -- all those soft, bright blooms! It was too much to bear. Yes, April: that cruellest month, mixing memory and desire, hyacinths, hope, and apprehension. But quick now, here now, always: the daffodils are beginning to peek out. The buds on the pear tree are undeniably about to pop into petals. And despite the snow that dusted us here in Pennsylvania just two days ago (it always snows in April), despite it all: I believe. I believe in spring, in the return of the light, in warmth, in love, in second chances. Some days I'm tempted to sit down and list out exactly what I do believe, side-by-side with all of the beliefs that I've lost along the way, just to see which list is longer. Where, I wonder, is the Life we have lost in living? But to tell you the truth, I'm not sure I want -- or need -- to know, becuase what we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.**
So in honor of endings and beginnings, in honor of spring, here's a little blessing that I wrote a few years ago. (When I read it, I like to imagine that I'm standing at the sea, which is the land's edge.)
A Springtime Blessing
May you be rooted like rock
That reaches down beneath the constant tide
And pushes tall into the air.
May you shimmer like sun-skimmed sand
Along white, white waves.
May a line of footprints lead you
To adventure and home and back again.
May your perspective be one of compassion and beauty.
May you ruffle your wings in the water
And flutter them dry on the breeze,
Plump with the knowledge that you are as permanent
And as temporary
As this land.
**Italicized words, plus references to April as the cruellest month and hyacinths, from T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land," Four Quartets, and The Rock. (It seems I can't go a spring season without quoting at least one of these.)