Hard to believe that spring is just days away after that wild storm last week with its surprise blast of two feet of the back breaking white stuff. It gave us the kind of snow that snaps shovels and power lines, pounds sandy dunes, snatches up houses and tosses them into the sea. Like a crafty boxer, winter fooled us, feinted one way then caught us with one final sucker punch just before the bell sounds for the last round of the season. Around here winter is serious stuff and often it does not let go and leave until it absolutely, positively has to, a houseguest putting off departure until the last minute.
But now we can at least anticipate spring finally, SPRING, the season of anticipation, more than any other time of the year. To look ahead. Search for signs of rebirth and renewal. Wait in hope as the earth revolves to its equinox on the 20th and then turns its face upward once again towards the sun. In his poem “April Prayer”, from the book “Prayers and Run-on Sentences”, the poet Stuart Kestenbaum writes…
“Just before the green begins there is the hint of green
a blush of color, and the red buds thicken
the ends of the maple branches and everything
is poised before the start of a new world…”
Yet anticipation is a mixed emotion in the human condition, because to anticipate we need both hope and courage. Anticipation always carries with it two possibilities: that things will work out as we desire, or things will work out as we fear. Anticipating spring is easy because we know, absolutely, it is coming. The calendar can’t be denied. Flowers will push up once again through muddy and chilly soil. Days will grow longer and temperatures climb upward. Birds will once again sing their songs and alight, oh so hungry, on backyard feeders.
But to anticipate a human spring as we move through the messiness of life? This finally takes faith. A belief that somehow a power beyond us, greater than us, is working through our lives and the life of this world for the good, for the better, for an eternal spring in our hearts and the world. A trust in a Divine force, beyond all human control, which holds Creation within its embrace. Having such faithful anticipation we take a leap into the unknown. Lonely, we anticipate love again. Sick, we anticipate health again. Grieving, we anticipate recovery again. Separated, we anticipate reconciliation again.
The old saw against such spiritual conviction is that religious faith is finally a crutch, a faux myth that all those “God people” lean upon. I suppose I could live this life without anticipation or faith or hope in the God of spring. Just see this world as all chaos and randomness, chance occurrences, luck, fate, or even a cruel roll of the dice. Some do.
But not me. I need to anticipate in hope and faith the days ahead. I need to believe in a spirit of renewal that infuses everything, all that matters in the world. I need spring. I need Easter. I need a Red Sox Opening Day and my first bike ride on a warm Sunday afternoon and a mockingbird perched on a tree in my backyard chirping away, all of these God-given miracles declaring that better days are in store, a new world even.
First I must anticipate it, see the spring before it appears, envision a brand new season before the last snows have melted away. After a long winter I’m ready for such hope. I’m willing to have faith. I have anticipation. How about you?