Teased by a short, glorious early warmup, many people in my part of the world are wishing aloud for the “real” spring to show up. (Of course, by that they mean sunny days and much warmer temperatures—which is probably jumping to late spring, but you get the idea.)
I have to agree, having had my fill of needing the heat turned on in the house and putting a winter coat on for the short walk to the mailbox. Apparently at some point in my life I became a wuss. But that, luckily for you, is not the subject of today’s entry.
Every year, we eagerly anticipate spring. We rejoice when we see the early flowers blooming: the tiny crocuses peeking through the dead leaves in flower beds, the forsythia bursting yellow in neatly trimmed hedges or natural wild abandon, and, finally, the daffodils, too numerous to count in my neighborhood. These bright spots of color remind us that the crunchy brown of the dead grass and the cheerless gray of the sky will soon be replaced by brilliant greens and blues. Curly lime-colored leaves will soon start filling in the now-bare trees, and once again, we will be surrounded by luxurious awe-inspiring growth. Somehow it makes us all feel better; it reminds us that we too can start again. It is, truly, a wonderful time of year.
But this year I was struck by something I never really gave much thought to. Those harbingers of spring, those first flowers that appear—they tend to be quite delicate, in appearance anyway. Those tiny crocuses with their spindly almost non-existent leaves—how do they survive the cold, even the snow? How is that possible? I’m sure there’s a scientific explanation for this phenomenon, but I’m more interested in what it can teach us.
It made me think of my mom. I’ll never forget hearing, years ago, a dear friend of the family say my mother was the meekest person he knew. He meant it as a compliment, following it up with a comment about the meek inheriting the Earth. And he was right. She doesn’t make a grand entrance; she is never the loudest voice in the room. But she is also the strongest person I know. Without complaining, without looking for anyone’s pity or usually anyone’s help in any way, she has cared for a husband and five children, co-run a business, and survived hardships with grace. With a smile on her face, she’s always ready to lend a hand and be of service in any way she can. And she does it all without calling attention to herself. Like the crocus, she demonstrates that real strength is modest. It is quiet and can easily go unnoticed. But if we pay attention, we see the beauty: the true beauty of standing strong while being flexible enough to remain in harmony with the life that surrounds us.