My mom says I'm solar powered. And on days like today, I'd say she's right.
I struggle in the darker months, when the shadows loom earlier and earlier, playing on old fears and foolish anxieties. I can manage pretty well all the way through mid-January. The holidays bring a distraction, with Halloween's silliness, Thanksgiving's bounty, and the glitter and gaiety of Christmas and New Year's. Then the is a whirl of birthdays in my life that keep the good feelings going for a few more weeks. But the end of January and beginning of February....that's when I've had it. Even though the days are slowly gathering more light, it happens too slowly in those few weeks. I've had enough of the stagnant darkness. The monochrome look of the world is no longer being offset by joyous colors and music, and Valentine's Day is only a special day because the kids need to take treats to school. I don't hate it, I just don't see the need to feed Hallmark any extra money.
But February 15th...that's a special day. It means we are officially half way through the month. March is coming! And March equals spring. I can endure any snow storm, or cloudy day, because I know the grey grungy snow will slowly sneak away. I went for a walk yesterday, and saw the sneak preview of that.
The sky was no longer the icy blue of winter, but something sweeter. Sunbeams were no longer bleakly blinding, but had the power to bath me in warmth. Patches of meek yellow-green grass peeked through the dwindling mountains of snow. Even the trees seemed to dare show some color. The bark is no longer the wet mat black that so thirstily drinks up the meager offerings of a tired sun. I see hints of green lichen, and some greyish brown peering from the branches. The world is gaining courage and letting it's spirit show again!
I stopped in a few places, just to take in this long awaited change. Closed my eyes, and enjoyed a deep breath that didn't sear my lungs with cold. Heard birds! Chirping, whiring, chittering, calling, gossiping birds. Hear the river of melted water flowing down the streets gutters and into the almost flooding the street drains. That trickle of dirty water rushing around minature glaciers might not seem so special, but to me it's a sign of hope. Change is coming.
When that thought hit me, I had to pause. I do love the longer days, and the gentle warmth of spring. But what inspires me even more is the sense of adventure when I walk in the spring and autumn. Watching for those changes. From here on, I will prowl through my neighborhood, content with walking the same path over and over, if only to see what has been revealed since the last time I passed by. I will revel in the retreat of white, grey and black, losing precious ground to the watery pastels and deep browns of newborn spring.
At some point, though, the oppressive heat of summer will set in, and my unceasing battle with my lawn will be as hated as the struggle to keep the driveway cleared of snow and ice. Summer and winter are fixed entities. They offer no novelties. There are parties, fun, and stunning storms to pass the time, but very little change during those months. I find myself feeling just as sluggish in July's heat as I do in January's frigid weather. By August, I'm begging for fall. I'm ready to see the garishness of hotter months fly south for the winter, leaving me with cooler days, and the steady slide from bold splashes of flowers against vivid greens to flame toned leaves against a greying sky. To again prowl through my neighborhood, to see what changes nature has painted into the landscape.
So it maybe that I need that burst of sunlight, to recharge my batteries after all these months of darkness. I certainly felt rejuvenated after that walk. But I can't help thinking about how invigorating autumn is as well. How much I love the surprises one finds in these seasons of change.