A week ago it came, kicking its heels like a witless lamb. Spring. Didn’t it know it wasn’t due yet?
We’ve been locked down in cold for months. We swap war-stories of coughs and runny noses, risk suffocation under layers of bedding, and shiver in the school yard as we wait for the kids to emerge from over-heated classrooms. I listen to winter complaints but secretly love it: the grim skies and the bite in the air and the frosted grass and the misty rain and the severe lines of bare trees.
Then it happens. We step into the unexpected warmth of a northerly wind, and are forced to shrug off our coats and scarves and woolly knits. Grrr.
I’ve never liked spring. Forget frolicsome lambs and apple blossom. A Melbourne spring, to me, is wind and rain and the morning-breath of summer. Bees hovering above open lunch-boxes, the scourge of swooping magpies, pollen tickling the back of your nose. Cycling against a stiff head-wind. The gaudy hue of overly cheerful flowers. While others enjoy the warmth, all I feel is the early threat of summer, when you open the door and the air punches you in the face and the sun burns your skin and there is no escape.
Autumn is my favourite season. The days dream. The sun, tracing a lazy curve in the sky, draws long shadows across the grass. My skin rejoices in the paradox of warm sun and cool air. The maple next door scatters yellow stars, and our feet rustle through clinging layers of leaves. At night, a harvest moon hangs just above the trees, too swollen to lift itself. Always, there is the growing cold: good-bye to heat and welcome to the crisp air of winter.
So I was surprised, last year, when I found myself enjoying spring. I’ve just noticed that the new leaves on my neighbour’s tree aren’t garish green, as I imagined, but a rosy red. I smile at the cherry-blossom waving pink toes at the sky. The other day, I saw a wood duck gather her brood by the side of the road and look, puzzled, at the traffic. We went for a walk in the early evening – the days are growing longer – and were followed by a sliver of silver moon.
Summer: well, I haven’t learned to love it yet. Maybe I will this year. Whatever the season, it seems a pity to walk through life Grinch-like, blind to the beauty around us. God made this world, and, yes, it is fallen, sometimes horribly so; but it is still good, and it blazes with his glory (Gen 1:31, Rom 1:20). May he give us eyes to see and words to tell of his wonders.
O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom have you made them all…
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
(Psalm 104:24, 33)