Spring took its precious time arriving this year. Cold temperatures and April snowstorms left many of us feeling exhausted and a bit crabby. Our collective waiting for warmth began to feel like watching a pot of water that just wouldn’t boil.
But then, as if by some glorious seasonal magic trick, the temperatures increased and the sun returned. I’ve never seen the people of the Med City so happy. It’s amazing what a stretch of 60-degree days will do for folks who haven’t encountered such temperatures in many a moon.
The shift feels so novel and new. I’ve never taken so many photos of grass. Just plain ol’ patches of green spindly growth. Anything poking up through the brown, crunchy leaves gets its own snapshot and a whispered prayer, "Dear God, I forgot that grass is beautiful. How could I forget? How could I ever imagine it an annoyance? It’s a miracle! Help me remember."
Soon enough the leaves on the trees will fill in and the landscape will transition into its lush, summery state. That, too, will be lovely, but I’m not in a hurry. This stretch of time in-between carries its own splendor.
During a recent trip to Whitewater State Park, there were examples of the magnificent seasonal in-between everywhere. Tiny ferns beginning to unfurl petite little arms. A few early Dutchman’s breeches hanging out to dry. All sorts of emerging ephemerals. Birds in a perpetual state of song.
The novelty of all the sights and sounds reminds me of a verse from the Old Testament book of Isaiah. In Isaiah 43:19a, God says, "Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already — you can see it now!" (Good News Translation).
Another translation of the same verse describes God as a kind of gardener, "I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true" (Easy to Read Version).
Spring feels like a very new thing this year. According to the calendar, it’s a season that comes every nine months, but somehow it still feels like a marvelous surprise. Maybe that’s one of the mercies of living in a place with four different seasons. Each one has its own unique beauty.
One of my favorite sights during the Whitewater trip was the sight of a hepatica flower just about to open. A solitary stem slowly stretching upward toward the midday sun. "How long has this sweet plant been waiting for this moment?" I wondered. From seed to dirt to life above ground. It took patience and resilience.
We are all that little hepatica flower at times. Waiting and wondering. Hoping for a change in seasons. Longing for warmth and the nutrients we need to transform and stretch out our leaves. Delighting in the miraculous, mysterious timing of it all.
Thanks be to God for this season of growth. For tiny signs of hope. For all the new things God is doing in our midst.