a longing

Recently I was out on a wintry day and I noticed workers braving that cold and doing, of all things, landscaping work in preparation for spring.

They were mulching, and digging out old plants, and putting in hearty pansies for color, and trimming back the growth on leggy bushes, and work such as that. Of course they were wrapped in layers of warmth, so thick it must have been difficult to bend or move easily. They often huddled together, to discuss their work, no doubt. Sometimes you couldn’t see their faces as they were covered to keep out the cold. Premature? I wondered. Is winter that close to being part of the past?

Yet seeing this made me remember that it IS February, and I reminded my husband that we have to cut back the monkey grass this month (before the new shoots come up) as we always do. And I looked at our own crepe myrtles and thought, “The next warmer day I will get out there and cut those back, too.”

Also, I have read back through some of my writing in past years and noted how often I wrote about the coming of spring, and my impatience for its arrival, and the signs that give us hope for the coming warmer days. Was that overkill I wondered? Much ado about not-so-much? Shouldn’t I take what is here for the present and rest in the knowledge that, in time, spring will come?

Of course our winter so far had been relatively mild. Our highs were usually in the 40’s, interspersed with that tease of a day that hit 60 or even 70 degrees. With weather like that it is easy to think that winter isn’t so bad after all, and spring isn’t too far away.

But now we are in the midst of a wicked ice storm, layering our streets and ground with a thick crust of cold and slickness. The birds and squirrels seek shelter out of the wind and out of sight. Those eager buds on some plants will be history now, and the green spots on the lawn will become brown once again. Perhaps some of that yard work was premature, but hopefully not damaging in the long run.

So now I remember and feel deep within that longing for warmer days, for signs of life, and for the feeling that the world is awake and not sleeping. And again I hold on to the hope:

“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”

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