There is a change in the quality of light and sound as March opens; the month of April grows closer. My morning walk in the park today with Winky, my little dog, revealed an amazing display of natural resilience. The tree branches have buds on them – just this weekend there were none, and today they are full of new buds. The plant beds all have green tender shoots that have broken ground and are already about two inches tall. Where once the grass was yellowed and dry, now there is a blanket of fresh green grass just starting to appear. As we walked, birds were flitting from treetop to the ground, and back up again, flying into the wind, singing a song about their journeys. The Canadian geese were in pairs, honking in communication with one another, as they moved across the spring sky. The sky itself held a slightly pink tint, and a fine misty rain fell on everything.
When I dream of spring during winter, I dream of days like this, when hope feels close to my heart and a new fresh start dances on the horizons. This poem by Margaret Hillert, titled And Suddenly Spring, really captures my sensual experience:
The winds of March were sleeping.
I hardly felt a thing.
The trees were standing quietly.
It didn’t seem like spring.
Then suddenly the winds awoke,
And raced across the sky.
They bumped right into April.
Splashing springtime in my eye.
The resilience of the earth, the way that it renews itself again and again, is an amazement to me, and so reassuring. No one has to do anything; Mother Nature does it for herself. The earth knows when it is time to start the renewal process and it brings a sense of hope and new beginnings.
Not everyone loves spring. Over the years, during my work as a counselor and coach, I have known many sad people who suffered when spring came. They found the idea of starting anew almost too hard to bear. It takes energy to embrace spring and the changes it signals; for anyone depressed, it can be a burden to endure another spring, another new start, and to face the challenge of renewal. It can be a shock to discover, if you are a happy and outgoing person, that the rate of suicide is highest in spring. It’s not Christmas time that carries that distinction, as so many believe. It’s April.
For those persons, mental health counselors seek to find help in the form of physicians to prescribe antidepressants, counseling groups to give support, mentors to provide guidance and companionship, while lending their own good listening skills and empathy to help restore that springtime desire to embrace the world.
Dreams of spring continue to blossom in my heart and my imagination; I dream of planting flowers and herbs. I dream of sitting on a screened porch sipping a cup of tea or coffee. I dream of lazy summer days that last long. I dream of warm breezes, bright blue skies, and ripe red tomatoes. This is my spring. My world. My joy.