Wednesday's Words, by Morgan Ashbury

Today is the first day of spring!

Of course, you wouldn't know that from looking out my window here in Southern Ontario. The weather forecast calls for a high of 27 degrees Fahrenheit, but with the wind chill it will feel more like 18. Brrr. Have I ever mentioned that I hate the cold?

Yet, despite the cold temperatures that were slow in coming this winter and now apparently loath to depart, it is the first day of the new season. I hear the birds early in the morning, and that is one of only two real signs I've seen that it is indeed nearly time for the cold and the snow to retreat. The other sign are the green shoots poking up through the snow and ice as my daffodils and tulip bulbs have come awake and are preparing to bloom for another year.

If they survive this last bit of winter, that is.

I cherish the cycle of nature that finds us going from season to season each year. I guess part of the reason for that is despite the changes we've all witnessed in climate, and even though the characteristics of each season seem to no longer be as consistent as once they were, the seasons nonetheless do change. They occur each year, forming a rhythm to life that is at once comforting and exciting.

Spring has always been my favorite time of year. I love it not only because the temperatures slowly climb from the cold of winter toward the heat of summer. I love it because it is the season of renewal and rebirth. It is, if you will, the season of second chances.

I am a great believer in redemption and second chances.

When I think back to the days of my youth, I remember Saturday morning, awakening to the sound of birdsong. I would sleep with my window open as soon as it was mild enough to do so, and my favorite days were the ones when the breeze coming through my window was that wonderful aroma we used to call fresh air.

I'm not trying to be facetious, but there really was a quality to the air that was different forty years ago, than it is today—although still, every once in a great while I step outside and do inhale that treasured, remembered scent.

The trees would be enveloped in an aura of green—that point when the buds are there, but haven't yet burst into leaves. The sun would shine in the vibrant blue sky of springtime—a different blue than the pale of winter—and for those moments, those precious moments, it felt as if anything, anything at all was possible.

As a young wife and mother, springtime always made me itchy to get my hands in the soil, to work up flower beds and plant my vegetable garden. It seemed a long wait from those first stirrings of the new season until our traditional planting time—the May 24th weekend. We waited that long to ensure the danger of frost was past.

I'm no longer young, and playing in the soil is different for me now. I have window boxes that fit on my porch railing, so if I want to plant, I can do that. I was finally successful in getting my beloved to plant a few flowers in my yard, and those I am hoping, as I see their tiny green shoots above the snow, will survive and bloom.

Most people think of change, of starting fresh and making resolutions on New Year's Day. I'd much rather—if I was going to do such a thing—perform that ritual when the breezes of springtime first caress the land.

It seems more fitting a time to make vows of self-improvement, and the spirit of renewal in me would have a resounding echo in the world that surrounds me.



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