With temps in the 70’s this past Saturday, I hoped that Spring was upon us, and yet, here in Connecticut, it has been rainy and cold all this week, still feeling a bit like winter. Sigh.
Spring can’t come soon enough. And with this time of year comes spring cleanup. Like any relatively rural setting, the small yard of the little house is full of downed branches, broken limbs, leaves, and brush. Underneath the brush, small green, living things are poking out, waiting patiently to make a big entrance. It is time for the rebirth to happen, and what a joy to watch it unfold.
But the newness of the earth can’t happen without loss. Watching everything go dormant in November is a stark reminder that things begin… and they end. And you can probably see where I’m headed… that the end is sometimes gloomy for all who must weather the snow and barren landscapes.
That’s how it felt a few weeks ago, when my family and I said goodbye to our good friend Marty. It was gloomy and the weather was reflected in our sense of loss.
The service for Marty was magnificent. The music was incredibly beautiful. Stories of his life brought moments of laughter as well as tears. But those flashes of memory and joy didn’t remove the loss of our friend. I was well prepared with Kleenex, and used every one of them.
So many times, I want to forget that this sorrow has to happen at all. It is without doubt a crummy part of life, and hits me in the gut… every… single… time. I think, “What lies ahead? What mystery is this? What does all of it mean, and what is the purpose?”
With the last hymn sung and hugs with my family, I drove away from St. James Church, through South Britain, left at the old, beautiful, white Congregational church, and up the mountain to the little house. The day was cloudy and bit rainy, and my sadness matched the day. I was feeling the absence of our friend, and also the absence of others I’ve loved, and still love.
It occurred to me then that it’s taken me over 25 years to come to terms with my dad’s passing… and truthfully, I’m not quite there yet. Not a day goes by that he isn’t present in some way. No event in my 49 years has probably affected me more. Losing him has made me think about his life, my life, his faith, my faith, our family, my own mortality, and a million other things. But I know that if he were here he would say to me, “Okay. That’s enough. Get on with it now.”
I pulled in to the muddy drive of the little house. And there they were.
Signs of Spring were everywhere despite cold, damp weather. All around the yard I saw the evidence of rebirth and renewal. The daffodils were sprouting up. The forsythia budding. The snowdrops were prolific. And the purple crocuses, popping up all over the place, nearly carpeted the yard with a firm reminder that the earth grows and rebuilds… in essence a statement of the impossible-to-understand … that the Universe is around us, reassuring us that indeed, winter is not the end, but just a pause.