Nature was playing April Fool’s jokes Monday. Saturday felt like a spring day. My husband and I drove the convertible with the top down even though it was a bit nippy. We grilled hamburgers for dinner. But Easter Sunday was chilly and overcast. In the afternoon, my husband wanted to rake the lawn but the wind picked up, making any effort futile. So we went inside and made Manhattans and watched a few episodes of House of Cards while the lamb roasted in the oven. The last day of March was almost as dreary as the first day of March.
Monday morning I woke up, sat up, and checked the Weather channel so I would know how many layers I would need. The good news was that it was already 46 degrees. The bad news was that the area had yet another weather advisory: high winds and thunderstorms. But looking out the window, I could see that the sun was shining. The morning was beautiful. I laced up my running shoes and went for a long run on the Farmington Valley Greenway. I stretched on my basketball court. I cleaned up, ran errands and enjoyed lunch on my deck. Spring was here at last. Still every time I checked the Weather Channel, the weather advisory was still in effect.
Suddenly while I was on the phone with an insurance company, the wind roared through the trees, thunder pealed in the distance and Princess went crazy. Is it a joke when there’s a warning?
Some places farther north than I am got more snow. I am thankful most of mine is gone. Today the air is cooler. It was 26 degrees when I took the dogs out this morning. The wind continues. Along the trail by the river, I notice ice coated plants, a sculpture in the afternoon sun. Yet signs of spring are in the air. The snow melts in one flower bed, exposing lavender. Day lily bulbs poke through the ground. The owls are calling in the woods. Squirrels scurry down from their nests and onto my deck railing, teasing the dogs. Geese fly overhead, honking as they return to north. Two bluebirds shared a branch in a tree in the front yard. A woolly caterpillar scurries on the ground. My daughter’s boyfriend moved the snow blower to the garage. We are done for the season.
I understand now why some people like living where there are seasons. Life is marked by changes. We live our lives in stages: childhood, adolescence, adulthood. Shakespeare’s “Seven Ages of Man,” the famous “All the world’s a stage” monologue from As You Like It, goes further, dividing adulthood into five periods of life, each marked by our strengths and frailties. But I would argue that we have just four—much like the four seasons. We start with the hope of spring and fade away in the winter.
I see spring in my grandson. My grandson turned one a few days after the first day of spring. Last year the sun was shining, bulbs were blooming. This year was colder. We took him to the Aquarium because he likes penguins. The penguins are outside. It was cold, too cold to stand there for long. He enjoyed the fish inside more. Young children are unpredictable in their likes and dislikes. Every day brings changes. You look at your child or grandchild and see possibilities, potential, promise. And you enjoy the smiles and laughter. Everything is new and exciting.
My daughters are in the summer of their lives. They have planted the seeds of their futures and wait for the harvest. The future is warm and sunny. The days are long and bright.
I like to think I am in the early autumn of my life. The bloom is definitely off my cheeks. I have more than a few wrinkles. Yet I still have the energy for adventure, the hope of a late harvest. Facing the adversity of winter takes patience, takes strength, and takes preparation. I am not prepared. But it’s early yet. In the meantime, the anticipation of each season is invigorating. I wait each day to see what the weather brings.