As Mother Nature unfurls her extravagant tapestry of new life, the stark skeletons of leafless trees slowly fill with a hundred shades of green, while birds resplendent in their May plumage orchestrate a delightful cacophony of early morning melodies that herald in song the imminent change of seasons. Spring has finally sprung, and it couldn’t come at a better time.
Unlock thy copious stores; those tender showers
That drop their sweetness on the infant buds,
And silent dews that swell
The milky ear’s green stem.
Long hidden beneath blanketing sheaths of clouds, the sun bursts forth against cerulean skies, liberating us from the icy clutches of winter, warming our flesh and lifting our tattered spirits, helping to heal the deep psychic wounds of perpetual worry, the unrelenting stress of financial uncertainty, and the abrupt and painful loss of routine human connections that are so fundamental to our existence as social creatures.
So many days of late, we feel ourselves drowning in an ocean of despair, with a rising tide of frustration and even anger over the harsh circumstances imposed upon us by an unseen enemy. This is COVID Spring, a bizarre and utterly unfamiliar juxtaposition of the glorious beauty of life against unspeakably tragic loss. Yet this spring is no different from every one that came before: It still brings us hope for a fresh start, a chance to cast aside the darkness of winter and walk into the light. It still reminds us of renewal, and of possibility, that whatever may lie ahead for us is limited only by our imagination. It still rekindles the passions of human and beast alike, rebooting the ceaseless cycle of life, and reaffirming that our continued existence on Planet Earth, despite our present circumstances, is indeed worth celebrating.
Even as we mourn and grieve for lives lost, so too must we find something positive to hold onto, to be optimistic about, or we will surely go mad together. Though it won’t cure COVID, spring is a remedy for many ills, a gentle elixir to ease the burdens that weigh so heavily on our hearts and minds.
Fair Spring! whose simplest promise more delights
Than all their largest wealth, and thro’ the heart
Each joy and new-born hope
With softest influence breathes.
For many, spring is also a time to reestablish our connection to Mother Earth by digging our hands into her warming soil, sowing seeds that with tender care will bring forth multi-hued bouquets of floral delight and a bountiful harvest of life-giving sustenance. Soon enough we will witness with unbounded delight the first green shoots that stretch toward the sky, confirming that our labor and our love is more than sufficient to spark the regeneration of life.
For those more inclined to let Mother Nature do the work, Lansing is blessed with astonishing natural wonders right at our doorstep, from gently flowing rivers that teem with life to forested glades cut through with welcoming trails, offering glimpses of Canadian geese watching over their gaggle of fast-growing goslings, while white-tailed deer encourage their speckled fawns to take their first wobbling steps. The abundant glory of nature is ours to behold, if we allow ourselves the luxury of speaking softly and moving slowly so we can more closely observe and appreciate the remarkable spectacle that is spring’s rebirth.
Now let me sit beneath the whitening thorn,
And mark thy spreading tints steal o’er the dale;
And watch with patient eye
Thy fair unfolding charms.
Wherever you may be and whatever you may be doing, we encourage you to take a moment now and then to pause and reflect on the many blessings spring bequeaths to us. Step outdoors, take a deep breath and fill your lungs with the crisp fresh air, gently scented with the intoxicating perfume of newborn blossoms. Exhale slowly, releasing the toxic brew of stress and worry, replacing it with the inner peace that comes from knowing we will indeed carry on, that this too shall pass, as surely as the arrival of spring.
Poem excerpts from "Ode to Spring," by Anna Lætitia Barbauld (1773).