It seems like magic, this whole coming of spring. It was just a few days ago we were immersed in bleak and dusky shadows. Just a few weeks ago that the ground was completely bare and the skies so quickly dark. Shades of brown and gray have been the only choices on nature’s pallet in this dry winter. Snow came sparingly, only to melt into dirt and grime. And then, without warning or proclamation, in comes spring, quietly, unobtrusively.
I spent the majority last summer outside with a backpack and a pair of hiking poles. The habit of making outdoor time a central part of my day stayed with me when I returned, and it has continued through the winter. Every day I lace up my shoes and set my feet on the earth below. I watched it gradually lose its color in September and October, leaf by leaf. I walked under the gray skies and bare trees of November. I felt the ground grow harder from the biting cold that stung my cheeks in December and January. I walked and ran under the big empty sky every day in February. The green warmth of summer days become further and further in recesses of my memories.
But March has come and I go out with eyes peeled for signs of life.
The tips of the tree branches are tinged with the something other than bare twigs.
The grass is slightly less crusty and brown than it used to be.
The days are gradually lengthening, light streams through my window just a little longer now.
The neighbor’s daffodils have begun to poke their green shoots up from the ground, the slightest hue of yellow on their edges.
And the birds. The birds can’t stop signing. I take off my headphones out on my morning run, their sweet melodies greeting me like a long-lost friend.
I watch spring come in every year, and every year it feels like a miracle. Green after so much brown. Light after all this darkness. Warmth after such biting cold. Life shooting up after being buried in the cold ground for so long.
It’s the promise of hope, coming to fruition right in front of our very eyes.
I wonder if this whole planet was created as a metaphor. An allegory of what God wants to do with His people. The people whose hearts have grown crusty, whose horizon is perpetually grim, whose lives feel barren and empty. The people who buried something, someone, and have felt something in their own soul die.
It won’t be winter forever. The earth won’t always be hard. Crusty exteriors will be broken up. Vibrancy and vitality will be ours for the taking. Light will prevail. Life will shoot up in front of your very eyes.
I’ve seen spring overtake these lands year after year, and each time it is like all of nature has come together to proclaim the gospel in every way possible, down to the tiniest pink flower.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
-From Isaiah 42 and 55