The Light (And Fury) of Spring

6am and there’s light.

9pm and there are still fragments of light, casting the tops of the trees in my backyard aglow.

I no longer rise in darkness, wrapped in the thick blackness of winter. And now, my bedtime creeps later and later into the evening as I seek the light, repositioning myself around my deck and yard to catch those final streams before the cool air or dinner time calls me inside.

In the north country, daylight now works in our favor. While the spring weather has yet to settle herself fully in the Flathead Valley, the daylight hours are increasing and I couldn’t be happier. While I’m not so happy that on this first day of May I awoke to a skiff of snow on the deck and topping the trees, I relish that when I awoke around 6, the day had begun. Out of the darkness we rise and into the light. Warmer temperatures will come (July 1, usually…) and I have to admit, since I do have a penchant for drama, that I like spring’s fury.

The past two days in the Flathead Valley have been a furious cycle–mythical and legendary–of weather. From quarter-sized snowflakes blowing sideways to the gusts of wind tearing down branches to pellets of rain, and then, as if exhausted from the thrash of intense weather, sunlight appears, illuminating the dark clouds like lightening. The world looks  golden. The contrast between dark and light is so ever-present that it didn’t take me long to wonder why legends of gods were first told on awe-inspired tongues. Then, the snow would come again and bring with it the blasts of wind. Rinse, repeat. Over and over again.

For me, as I’m apt to seek out metaphors, this battle between winter and spring is much like the interior battle I tested and toyed with. Months ago, when we slid into the darkness of November, I had to cling to the hope of a snowflake. So what if I’m in bed by 7:30pm by Thanksgiving? The darkness has lulled me into hibernation, contemplation, rumination. Snow came and I was joyful. Playful again (not clinging to my covers or lost in the pages of a book for days on end).

Then I had a ski accident and spent the month of March on my back, looking at my ceiling and hoping for spring. Hoping for the ease of pain. Hoping for health and strength. I knew spring would come, just as I knew my body would heal. But it didn’t make me any less angry, sad or frustrated.

So as I’ve watched the weather surge and quarrel, it reflects my own release from winter to spring. I was so mad about my ski wreck, about my performance at the National Championships that I had enough hot air to create a windstorm. I would have blown down more than branches. I was so frozen in pain that snowflakes didn’t bother me. Give me ice.

And yet, I found meaning in lying still. In basking in the warmth of sunshine–the rays of the self that emerge in healing, if you allow them to send ribbons of light into your heart. If you allow yourself to surrender to the injury, to ask for help, and to give yourself the time to heal.

So the drama of the seasons continues and it’s with such energy that I just have to marvel at its force and determination. Winter doesn’t want to give up, I get that. Spring wants to arrive on the scene, and oh how I want that.

I catch myself when I begin to think in very black and white and either or terms. It’s either got to be one way or the other. Who wants to live like that, at such drastic ends of the spectrum? In observing the weather, I’m learning to embrace the snow and cold with the sun and warmth in the very same hour. I can feel both anger and joy in the very same hour. And I know that the anger will pass, light and heat will come and soften my ground, and give rise to new growth.

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