I attended an Appalachian elementary school. My bus route wound up hills and down unpaved roads. There was a portion of the trek that chugged up a hill, and every year, I could feel it: the temperature rising, the sun peering over the crest, the grass outlined with dew. Spring is more than a season for me. It’s a whole sensation.
I’ve never disliked winter. There’s something about how it strips us, lays us bare before everything the prior seasons have covered up– I celebrate it. I don’t always enjoy it. More than once, I’ve had a bruised ass from falling on ice. I’m perpetually irritable from having to wake up eight minutes earlier to scrape off my car. Nevertheless, winter comes. Winter stays, and if you live in Ohio like I do, it lingers into Spring. But its scarcity cannot stay. Spring is an abundant force that growls through the cold– thawing everything in its path. Its warmth is a promise of good things ahead. April, May, and June usher flowers in their time, weddings, Easter, Memorial Day, Summer Vacations, and (most importantly) my birthday.
Things bloom in spring. What we grieved in winter, what felt lost returns to us. Entire years of my life have felt like winter, infinite Januaries on an frozen calendar. Like the ground beneath the snow, I assumed everything had died and gone. Sometimes, things died in winter: a vision, a friendship, a job.
We swell in winter. Bears grow plump in hibernation. The thick coating protects us, biologically preserves us through the scarcity. We cling to excess in winter. The excess isn’t meant to stay. There’s a season for all volumes. And it’s easy to be hard on ourselves in winter. It’s easy to lash out in the cold. But if we judged butterflies amidst a disgusting metamorphosis or anything amidst a transformation, it’s never pretty. Change isn’t intended to be pretty. Change isn’t for other people. It is intended for our own evolution.
This winter wasn’t so brutal neither in temperature or in life. It was more confusing– both in temperature and life. One day, work was cancelled from a polar vortex. Then, there’d be weeks of mild cold and a little ice. Nothing brutal transpired this winter. I went to work. I went on vacation. I saw my family. I worked out. And it was still super confusing.
The confusion is rooted in restlessness, an aversion to complacency, the urge to evolve. Confusion is the discomfort of my drive in my current place. This is how my whole body knows it’s time to bloom. The dormant ambitions of winter are ready to find the light. Blooming isn’t comfortable. Something has to break in order to make space for this big new thing. It’s the bud, the chrysalis, the hibernation– progress demands that the old way give into the new. The transformation can be effortless or painful, but we are designed to evolve. Even things with roots change so we, the two-footed, have even more reason to change and move.
My whole body is a memory. It cherishes the relief of that bus ride sensation. Something is coming. I can feel it. I know it. Nostrils wide, body grasping for all the air it can hold. Spring is here. Something new is coming, even if I don’t know what that is quite yet.