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The Harkening

The harkening of hope – of spring. There is the meteorological start of spring which begins on the first of March (for the ease of neatly bundling seasonal data) while the vernal equinox takes place today, March 20. But for most of us, spring begins when the air is warm, the birds are plentiful and singing, and flowers are emerging everywhere. It may, or may not, coincide with the calendar date of spring. For me, that happened this past Friday with temps up to, and even a little above, 70-degrees.

Regardless of which you choose to define spring, it is the weather we all crave – not the calendar date itself of course. The warmth of that first spring day often can become almost too much, too hot, after all the days of cold, causing us an almost involuntary recoil from it as our hand pulls back after too close an approach to a hot surface, as if we’ll be burned. Yet we rejoice in it simultaneously, a welcoming home to comfort.

I’ve written often of the rhythm of life and of the seasons, so like the tide as they ebb and flow. And while this is far from my first spring, its advent feels just as exciting now as it ever has! There is an unspoken promise with every first spring day: a promise of hope, of joy, and of peace.

And if you know me at all from my writings, you know that while I absolutely celebrate the advent of spring, it is mostly because spring is the gateway to summer – days of warm sun, soft breezes, and that explosion of green growth absolutely everywhere. I do not wish to hasten my life away and I truly relish each season, but oh do I revel in summer. Ad the first day of spring reminds me of that; it tickles and teases me in the reminder of what’s coming. With apologies to the finer poets and writers out there, spring is the foreplay to the seductive, sultry, sexy summer.

I find myself reading / hearing of the deaths of friends and co-workers with an alarmingly increasing rate; another just this morning. They come sporadically at best through the younger years – family notwithstanding of course, such as grandparents – but when they do come, they are typically tragic and deeply impactful. Sadly, as the years roll on, they come more and more often. I won’t say they are any less painful or sorrowful but you find yourself saying “well, he had a good long life”. In the last year, I have learned two or even three deaths in a single week. And that pace will only continue to accelerate until the one death I will not read or hear about is my own. The cycle of life.

A late Easter this year, which likely means a warmer one. Thanks to COVID, Easter of 2020 consisted of leaving Easter baskets and candy on the front step of my son’s house and my daughter’s house while trying to talk to them through closed doors and windows. It was absolutely heart-wrenching. Last year was a little better, but still diminished and subdued under the shadow of the pandemic as I had been vaccinated, but my wife was only one dose in and no one else had received any vaccine yet, so it was just my immediate family – kids and grandkids. And my daughter was well into her pregnancy so we wanted to minimize any potential risk to her.

This year is different – cases and numbers are way down, everyone is either vaccinated or has already had it, so the risk is minimal to all. The hope is to have everyone over for an egg hunt and then have the immediate family over Eater morning for a brunch at home. Years past I’d always taken everyone out for Easter breakfast but we ended that with the pandemic and as a result have found that having it here is far more relaxing and enjoyable. I am excited about it!

I had though I night get out for a hike today – the weather is beckoning – but it is nearing 11AM and were I to hike I should have left already. I think I will end up in the yard, working on the wood pile and possibly splitting some wood as I still have a huge amount yet to be split and stacked and that seems like a good goal for the day.

A short post, but I couldn’t let the equinox pass by unnoted. Get outside – hopefully into some nice spring weather – and above all else, stay well dear reader!

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