“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” — Rogers Hornsby
Well, spring has sprung, or so I hear: it is hard to tell living in a land of perpetual spring, but the calendar seems rather confident about it.
There is an idyllic conception of spring where the frigid death of winter awakens to butterflies and chirping birds, colorful explosions of flowers, cottony clouds floating across a bright blue sky, and Julie Andrews twirling in musical exultation. This has not always been my experience, at least on the first day or two.
But spring is real. Nature is rhythm, and the very planet is predictably reincarnated each year in a birth-death-birth cycle that generates hope in all things if you let it. In an increasingly insulated and distracted world, however, it takes effort to notice.
Anne Lamott wrote, “I am going to try to pay attention to the spring. I am going to look around at all the flowers, and look up at the hectic trees. I am going to close my eyes and listen.”
I’m with her. I want to sense hope in every way—to see it, and hear it, and smell it, and taste it, and touch it—and even engage an ineffable (sixth) supernatural sense.¹ I will work at it. Hope is imperative.
The woods and pastures are joyous
in their abundance now
in a season of warmth and much rain.
We walk amidst foliage, amidst
song. The sheep and cattle graze
like souls in bliss (except for flies)
and lie down satisfied. Who now
can believe in winter? In winter
who could have hoped for this?
– Wendell Berry, Given 58 (2005).
¹ Inexplicable hope is the substance that undergirds Easter.