Yesterday was one of those “Opening Days” for Spring, after a long winter no one wants to repeat. The sky changed from soft hues at sunrise to the high contrast of white clouds against a blue sky, as the grass seemed to suddenly turn green above the gurgle and gush of water-soaked fields. Birds began finding fence-posts on which to perch and survey their hunting grounds for worms and sources of dried stems and sticks to build their nests. Dogs ran the fields and circled around interesting holes left in the ground by burrowing animals, barking at those same birds who were making their claim on shared territory, and arriving back at “home base” dripping a glistening brown against their black coats, tell-tale signs of mud puddles traversed.
Yesterday was one of those “I’m feeling better and can get’er done” days, when the sun warms your muscles, and fresh air infuses confidence that all the aches and pains of age are only imagined. It was the time for cleaning out a garage, having an impromptu yard sale using colored chalk found in the process to hastily make a sign for the road pointing to the great deals at hand: “Free or Cheap”. It was a day for not sitting and waiting for customers to arrive. It was an afternoon for jiggling fence-posts and pulling them easily from the ground, as sucking sounds gave way to water rushing in to fill the vacated holes. It was a day for rolling up temporary fence lines, and re-opening a pasture that could be cut for hay in the coming months, since a beloved horse now had a new home. It was a day for crying aloud about sacrifices that had not yielded what had been hope for, and trying to rediscover a reason for rejoicing —–if for no other reason than change could be felt in the air. It was a day when the number “17” stuck out like a sign: counting 17 rolls of poly-wire neatly stored in a bin, 17 of 100 strawberry plants had survived the winter, how a 17 (going on 18!) year old Amish boy had inquired about a set of dishes with blue and pink flowers for his mother, and $17 was the earnings at the end of the day….as if it meant something. It was the day for believing losses would soon yield an opportunity for a new start.
Yesterday was remembering what it was like to hold a newborn child in arms that went numb after only a few minutes of cradling. Today was a reminder that those same arms and a compromised neck and back where not yet transformed as part of a restoration plan—-a more urgent reminder that this year there would be no garden yielding abundant produce, and a call to arms concerning how acres of grass would be cut if the sale of a small farm was not soon on the horizon.
It was hard not to recall memories of my grandfathers as they aged, both engaged in physically demanding occupations: one a wood-worker and craftsman, the other a doctor and casual farmer. I remember how I walked with one, my “Opa”, on sidewalks instead of woodland paths, hearing him lament the need for their repair and how he wished he had the use of his hands to fix the problem. I remember moving a folding chair for the other, my “Grandad”, to accommodate his unending love of hoeing in a garden where a few fresh vegetables grew, however small-scale the production compared to the years in his prime when acres of produce provided for extended family. And I am suddenly aware that time is no longer my cajoling friend, as if things that matter most can be postponed without consequence.
Today is the day I must consider and plan for a course of action that will make this day and tomorrow count for what is dearest to me. “Waiting” is no longer an option in a vocabulary abbreviated by the reality of mortality. And I can no longer be discouraged or weighted down by worrying what others will think of me or dreams unfulfilled, because of what’s deeply seeded in my spirit refusing condemnation.
It is the Advent and Easter season, after all—–to some of no meaning or account, but to me more than just “Spring Break” as popular culture would have it. With all my faults and failings, I am brought back in touch with not just the concept, but the hope of redemption and a plan for restoration still being revealed. For this I make no apologies. I want chronic physical pain to cease, emotional aches to heal, and relationships to be made whole again. Is there anyone out there who really needs more?
It is Spring again, and I, for one, am thankful and banking on its promise of renewal.