Monday, March 28, 2005

Keeping the Faith

From the Saugerties Times, March 17, 2005:
I've tried to be strong. I soldiered through these past snow-laden months, just accepting winter. I tried (on occasion successfully) to see the beauty in the spare landscape. I reveled in the concept of "sweater weather," and the opportunity to model my bulky collection of well-insulated clothing. Freezing pipes, ice storms, ungodly amounts of snow, car doors frozen shut - I weathered them all. Perhaps not with grace and style, but I did push through.

But now we've passed the Ides of March, and I'm done. I can no longer even pretend to be a good sport about this. I want to see green. I want leaves on the trees, my patchy lawn to come back and my garden to begin showing signs of life. I'm ready for the piles of gray snow to disappear, for temperatures to climb, and my windows to open. And yet I know that as many times as I close my eyes, click my heels and wish for spring, its not going to come. At least, not until after mud season.

Mud season. Two words that had been unknown to me before moving to this area. When I first heard mention of it, it conjured images of unwashed youth wrestling each other in pits of gooey earth. Last year, I got to experience what e.e. cummings described as "mud-luscious and puddle wonderful." An unfortunate tumble down my stairs meant I was on crutches for more than a month. Sheer serendipitous contretemps found me sinking inches into the ground as I hobbled about. Oh sure, I provided plenty of merriment for my friends, and got a great upper body workout to boot.

And eventually, just when I'd given up hope, the impossible happened. The verdant tips of iris leaves began to push through the remnants of the prior season's mulch. This year my heart leapt when I thought I spied some early efforts breaking through the snow, until I realized I had neglected to thoroughly put my garden to bed last fall. At this point, it's too late to trim the leaves back, and it would break my heart. That bit of green is what keeps me going some days, even as it is repeatedly covered with snow.

That green, or even the suggestion of it, is hope, or as Emily Dickinson would describe it, "a thing with feathers, that perches in the soul" For hope is what the season of spring is all about. The prospect that our faith shall be rewarded, and perhaps even renewed, helps us to slog through a seemingly endless morass of melancholy and its emblematic color, mud brown.
--Erica Freudenberger


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