This time of year it’s common around here to hear people complain, “Oh, when will spring ever come?”
There was a time when I could have been heard whining that same refrain. But I’ve now been around the sun enough times to have learned two things:
First: Spring is slow in the North
Spring isn’t late. Just because the earth passes the equinox the third week in March doesn’t mean the temperature will automatically rise above freezing – and stay there. As anyone who has ever tried to change a habit – to eat less, exercise more, quit smoking, floss – knows: change is a process, and spring is no exception.
I’ve come to love the process of spring, from the way winter can linger with late-season storms to the blossoming of the gravel roads into fragrant, tire-sucking, mud. I love watching the snow recede from the field like an outgoing tide, allowing an incoming tide of green to revive the grass.
This process of the earth thawing, the sunlight gaining, and photosynthesis gearing up for another season of growth, is an opportunity to do other things: In the past week, we’ve pruned the raspberries, taken the snow tires off the car, and gone to Boston while the garden is still buried in snow. We have just a few more weeks to put the skis and snowshoes back in the basement and clean the garage before we’ll be turning the soil and planting onions, shallots and leeks.
As much as I will welcome the sweet daffodils, elegant tulips and fragrant lilac, I’m in no rush, for I know that once the growing season begins, life becomes a race to plant, swim, and hike in the short time before harvest. Just as spring in the north is slow, summer is short, which leads to the second lesson I’ve learned.
Second: There’s no use complaining.
Complaining, in fact, isn’t just a waste of breath; it’s also a waste of time. As I age, I become aware just how time is of the essence: of all the things that we can run out of – toilet paper, milk, money – time is the one thing that cannot be replaced.
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