It's February. The world appears forgotten outside my window. There are days when the sun seeks to throw shadows behind me, but most days are overcast as morning sees a gray soupy pall descending until it reaches the dull frozen earth below. When the sun does appear it is only to warm the Earth's crust until grass mixes with mud, leaving indentations from shoes that must be removed at the door. February might leave many of us fighting cabin fever as winter's siege holds us behind our doors. Starting as December is ending and the hours of daylight grow, it is in such slight increments as not to be detected until February makes me suddenly aware.
There seems no reason but this truly is a time of hope.
In February I must cling to the hope that spring will come. Life will return, reborn from the brown leaf litter under which it hides through the long dark winter. My hope is based on experience. For generations, spring has brought the color for which I yearn.
Yes, once again the light that never really left will grow brighter and brighter until it warms the Whole; until it warms my shoulders, melting the heaviness that I have carried through these dark months. First, I see the dark green tips of daffodil leaves as they push through the dirt, pointing skyward. Next, chartreuse parsley appears, seemingly overdressed in its frilliness. Its immature leaves are curved and twisted to catch the light and hold its heat.
Each day that I go out to meet the world I see more signs. If I miss them it is only because I'm not paying attention. I hear the robins now. Soon they will leave the woods which has sheltered them to once again dot our yards and fields as they search for worms. Tiny green hearts of Lesser calendine spread out over a small hill in my garden with their promise of bright yellow sunbursts, the first blossoms of my garden, often blooming through the snow. The corms from these fiercely invasive plants have spread around the edge the compost pile, remnants from an energetic weeding episode.
Little by little, winter's bloom is pushed aside, allowing the Light to bring color to my world. Even the trees are getting ready for the covenantal spring. Redbud has swollen almost to the point of bursting which is just what it will do very soon as its deep pink blossoms are scattered through the woods and line the highways of Appalachia. It is those pink spots repeating throughout the woods, seemingly attached like a long string of Christmas lights, that symbolize the connectedness of the entire forest, connected with with itself; connected with me; connected with the Light.
Even now, yet another sign greets me in my garden. It is a young magnolia pushing pink petals out of gray buds, most of which resemble stick-dusters more than flowers. These fleece-like buds give me hope of what is to come. Hope that swells from my memories, from my experience, from what I've read and from what others have experienced. We all know that spring will come even though we might forget it in the dark of winter. But not in February. In February my excitement builds as hope becomes faith. There is nothing that I can do to stop it. I have knowledge that the unseen spring will follow as the earth is reformed- reshaped into something new, yet something that has been there all along, connected to that first organism which, once created, flourished and grew under the warmth of of the First Light.
What about me? Where is my gloom? Mostly gone now, though not completely. If I turn inward, away from the world, I'll see it. Yet if the darkness threatens to grow I know what to do. I'll throw open the curtains, open the door, walk out into the world, look around me, pay attention and, yes . . .
. . . I'll welcome the Light!