Did you ever notice that the seasonal shift is something you can smell before you see it?
Both this time of year and again in the fall, when I leave my house in the early morning I take a deep breath; searching for that hint of change. In autumn it smells like crisp, when humidity leaves the air and the refreshing breeze is tinted with russet leaves and fire smoke. When winter’s first snow arrives, before a single flake falls you can smell an icy water-sweetness in the air. This time of year I’m sniffing for the loamy darkness of the earth warming and starting to awaken, that first hint of green growing things on the breeze.
I haven’t detected it yet, but the birds definitely know something that I don’t.
My house is old and its heating system isn’t the most efficient. When it’s warm-ish downstairs our bedroom is generally a sauna, so all winter long we sleep with a window cracked to let in some fresh air. These past few weeks as I’m getting ready in the morning, I have heard the birds singing outside like mad. You don’t hear them over the winter, they hide out or migrate away, but lately they’ve been in full throat as though each new dawn is the perfect spring day. They can’t understand physics, but their tiny bodies can sense something that ours, steeped too long in the comfortable world of technology, cannot. God has gifted them to be in tune with whatever shift is triggering the onset of springtime, and despite the ice still coating our sidewalks, the snow on the ground, the salt covering our cars and the bitterly cold breeze, they are celebrating.
Each morning they comfort me, drawing me onward, assuring me that it won’t be much longer.
Ted and I jokingly referred to this winter as “the winter of my discontent,” assuming last fall that it would be so because I’d be spending most of it without any food that wasn’t a liquid dietary supplement. Instead it’s been a far more enlightening and challenging journey than I ever expected. I’m halfway there now, and I’m ready for what comes next.
Spring is coming, the chrysalis opens, and I will be running toward the light.
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