Late February Days!

Last Saturday, spring was in the air. I left off my winter coat and went outside and enjoyed the unseasonably warm beauty of sunshine and blue skies. As the 19th century English poet William Morris expressed,

“Late February days; and now, at last,
Might you have thought that
Winter’s woe was past;
So fair the sky was and so soft the air.”

Then on Sunday, it snowed. It snowed a lot.

Snow piled on a park bench

Now, our region needs the snowpack for the coming summer and thus I am grateful for this snowstorm.

In the meantime, just as 17th century English-American poet Anne Bradstreet declared, I must remind myself that, “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.”

First Green of Spring

Spring green moss and green grass along a creek

Every time I see the first bright green hues of spring, I’m reminded of this poem by Robert Frost:

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Spring passes quickly into summer here in the Mountain West, so I have to make a deliberate effort to enjoy the season—and get out on the trails to see the tender young grasses, bright willows, dogwoods, and mosses, budding and blossoming trees, and cheerful wildflowers.

Spring green moss along a creek

Thoughts on the New Year

Photo of a calendar, a notebook, and a journalI find it strange, but also fitting, that the new year begins in the dark, cold depths of winter.

At the end of an old year and the beginning of a new, I sit down with my calendar and review the events from the past year. I also get out my written list of goals and evaluate how well I did at reaching those goals.

When the new year begins, the days are short and cold—and often dreary—and the nights are long and dark, but the truth is that the winter solstice has already passed and the shortest, darkest day of the year is already behind me. Even though it is absolute winter, the days are actually getting longer.

Reviewing the events and goals of the previous year reminds me that I actually did experience and achieve many good things in my life, which helps me believe that I can do the same in the coming year. I write a list of goals I would like to work on and a list of adventures and experiences I would like to have in the new year.

It takes a few months before the gradually lengthening days of the new year result in glorious springtime—bright and clear sunlight, emerald-greening grass, quickening willow trees, and blooming daffodils. Spring seems to arrive suddenly, but it has actually been coming since the new year.

In like manner, when spring arrives, I start to see and enjoy the results of the slow, steady, and incremental work I’ve done on my goals in the months since the dark, wintry days of the new year.