Last night I turned the page on the calendar in hopeful anticipation. This morning it’s April!!
Our family has been left gasping after a West Michigan winter of unrelenting cold and gray skies mirrored a siege of unexpected serious illness. But today, a literal and metaphorical sunny day, is raising our spirits. Outside the window of my writing room, the crab apple tree still holds tight to deep red berries. It was a lovely companion when the deep white snow provided the backdrop. But now peering through its branches at blue skies and a serene pond gives me a new perspective. I am beginning again to be serenaded by the call and response of birds in early morning and on through evening. Perhaps they are welcoming each other home as I am.
In the front yard, demure crocuses proudly show off now that I have finally lifted dead chrysanthemum stalks that had been weighing them down since fall. Daffodil stems are pushing up; I can see the tinge of their bright yellow flowers.
As I think about taking the road much traveled to the library this afternoon, I sense freedom. No boots or heavy coats. No careful step-by-step descent down the stairs. No treading anxiously through drifts of snow or on ice-covered sidewalks. No shoveling the driveway. No scraping the ice off the car! I can just walk to the car and go!
Now begins the annual month of anticipation. I live in Holland, Michigan. Every May hundreds of thousands of tourists come to see hundreds of thousands of tulips planted in beautiful parks and in boulevards all around the city. For my entire life, early May has meant Tulip Time. And every April as I look at leafless trees and brown grass and seemingly lifeless tulip beds I have said, “We’ll never be ready for Tulip Time!” Every day I look for new signs of growth and suddenly the world is in bloom.
Although I often malign the weather outside my window, I love living in a place of seasons. Seasons are a symbol of the orderly and utterly predictable nature of a creative God. Seasons come and seasons go. That rhythm helps me understand that seasons of life change, too. And each season of life with its joys and sorrows helps us appreciate the next. After winter comes April.