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Changing to spring


Here in the mid-Atlantic region, the snow is melting. Even with the storm yesterday (maybe the last of this winter??), most of the snow is gone.

If you know a piece of land - a yard, a campus, a park - then you're getting your first good look at it in months.

You're finding daylight where branches used to be and earth where plants used to be.

Out there under the snow, even in the dark and cold, changes were happening.

Some of what we had in October is gone, did not survive.

It surrendered its rightful claim to water and sunlight and nutrients in favor of the growth to come.

These changes aren't killing, not in the sense of intentionally causing death. Instead, they are the morally neutral unintended consequences of rebirth.

Birth, renewal, creation and re-creation are inherently good.

We mourn the losses and we don't understand why this loss precedes that gain. Sometimes we ascribe causality to achieve meaning - "He had to leave so that someone new could come."

Maybe it really works that way or maybe it's pure coincidence.

Mostly, it's probably a case of the life that runs its course and ends due to factual causes, like a plant that cannot survive prolonged temperatures below a certain level, but then, in its consequent collapse, opens the canopy to light and returns to the earth the minerals that it once took.

Another seed happens along and life begins anew, a fact after the fact of the death of what was. Some of us give it religious significance - you may or you may not - but either way, there is great pain in the loss and great beauty and sweetness in the renewal.

Change is continual in anyone and anything that or who is truly alive. Stagnation and freezing and death are not the final word.

We don't strap into that office chair and put our head down and wait for the gold watch and the Social Security check. We don't claim to know it all. When the breeze whispers of a better way to be ourselves, a way to be more alive or of something new to learn, we attend to it, turn our heads, query the breeze and the opportunity.

That doesn't imply hedonism or flakiness or an inability to commit to what is good.

In the spring, we commit to the growth and life of the coming year. We seize the opportunity to let go of ways in which we were less than truly ourselves, less true to others and ourselves, entombed.

We let stuff go. Spring is coming. It's a good time to be alive.

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