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Spring Thaw

Springtime is a time of renewal. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are moving from the cold and snow (or rain, depending on how far south you live) of winter into the warmth of spring. It is the rebirth of the barren lands after the freeze of winter. It is the return of color to nature’s palate as the greening of trees and shrubs make way for the glorious rainbows of flowers blooming in the warm sun of springtime.

There is a definite lifting of spirits, particularly in more northerly climes. Gone are the bleak, dreary vistas of winter; of slush and snow, trees barren of leaves and skies leaden with the threat of more bad weather ahead. It is a time to shed the bundling up of clothing, to put away our winter coats and take out our tank tops and shorts. It is a time to feel the warmth of the sun again and to, at last, tell the kids to go out, get some fresh air and play. If they’re teenagers, they’ll respond with an indecipherable muttered acknowledgement that perhaps they actually heard you speak over the noise of the videogame they have been glued to since November.

As a species, springtime speaks to us. We begin to emerge from our caves, blinking in the bright sunshine, our skins as pale as lamb’s wool, reaching out towards the burning, life-giving orb in the sky with a grunt of appreciation. Our thoughts turn to planting and growth, while we adorn ourselves in color to match that of the awakening earth.

It is a good and gentle time, even in this era of global warming. It is a time of Easter, Spring Break and prom. It is a time where summer seems within reach and the world is full of possibilities.

We all need the spring. Not just the season, but a springtime of our hearts. We all need the rejuvenation that comes from the thawing of the winter’s cold that grips those hearts and prevents us from feeling anything.

We often bring our own winter on as a self-defense mechanism. When we’ve been badly hurt, feeling numb is better than feeling pain. We live in a self-imposed blizzard, feeling nothing, joyless in the winter of our hearts. We get comfortably numb, self-medicating with whatever is handy, be it alcohol, drugs or old Smiths records. We tell ourselves we will never love again because to love is to be vulnerable and the pain of loss isn’t worth the brief joys of love.

Of course, that’s just self-delusion. Deep down we all know that love is far better than loveless the same way we know that springtime is better than winter. We all want to have someone waiting for us at home, someone who cares about us regardless of what we say or do. Yes, there is the occasional Greta Garbo sort who just wants to be alone, but truly those are few and far between. As a species, we need other people around us. We operate better in packs.

However, it is understandable why some prefer emotional white-outs to the alternative. Most of us have gone through the agony of a painful break-up. There is nothing quite like it. It feels like you are dying from the inside out, and the pain is a physical one. Some call it a kick to the gut, but it’s far worse. It can be hard to breathe, and the tears fall uncontrollably. There’s nothing like watching a rational, logical person be reduced to a gibbering, sobbing wreck. I’ve seen heartache reduce strong men to puddles of goo.

Once you’ve experienced one of those, who in their right minds want to go through it again? And yet we do. We soldier on in the general direction of our next relationship, hoping our asses don’t get kicked again. The truth is that if you shut off your heart, you can’t feel pain but you can’t feel joy either. Going through life numb is not living at all; you become a zombie, a ghost – not truly alive. You experience nothing. Your soul dies a little…sometimes, a lot.

Love is risk. LIFE is risk. We accomplish nothing if we don’t take chances and that goes for our emotional lives as well. When we take chances, we open ourselves up for failure and yes, failure is going to come as often as it is not. However, taking chances also opens us up for success as well and any successful person will tell you that you don’t find success without taking a risk for it. “Bet small, win small; bet big, win big” goes the saying and its true for just about every endeavor in life. We don’t get ahead by staying where we are; we have to stick our heads out of our ruts once in awhile and take a big step.

Sometimes that big step can be a simple thing. I have a friend who liked his job but knew that he had advanced about as far as he could go in it. He decided on a whim to attend a seminar on real estate, one of those two hour ones they used to have (and may still have) at local hotels. While there he got to talking to one of the presenters and discovered that the realtor’s office was only a few blocks from his home and that the realtor had several openings. He quit his job, got a clerical job at the real estate office and took courses at night until he got his certification and license.

That was several years ago and the last I heard he has his own agency now. Of course, times are hard for realtors but knowing my friend I’m sure he’s okay; he was the sort that didn’t spend much and put everything he could away for a rainy day. But from attending a two hour seminar, an entire career emerged.

I have another friend who has been in a new relationship for about a month. Her last relationship ended badly and she had resolved never to fall in love again. Of course, try telling that to any heart and see where it gets you. She began spending time with her best friend, someone who had been her friend even while she was going out with other guys. The two have grown romantically tied, but her new beau is not the most expressive guys you’ll ever meet. She has very strong feelings for him but is terrified that if she allows herself to take the next step, he’ll bolt.

My advice to her was to tell him how she feels. If saying “I love you” to someone is enough to make them run, then you probably don’t have much of a future with them anyway. It took a lot of courage on her part, but she finally told him that she loves him. How did it turn out? Well, it’s still in progress; I’m hoping he’ll come to his senses and see what a good thing he has going for him (she’s a pretty terrific girl, sweet and very easy on the eyes), but you never know.

The point is that she took the chance even though taking that risk has burned her in the past. That’s true courage in my book. Charging a machine gun nest has nothing on telling someone that you love them for the first time. Now that’s terrifying.

Springtime is the traditional time for romance. Our thoughts turn to love in the spring and that’s something worth savoring right there. Maybe that’s another reason we’re so attuned to the season; it is linked to romance in our DNA. That’s hardly a bad thing.

So we need the springtime, not only for its aesthetic value but also for its effects on our hearts. We need the sunshine on our face, the warmth on our skin, the gentle breezes ruffling our hair. We need to dance in the spring rain and kiss someone special while wet with it. It is in our hopes and our dreams that we are reborn.


One Response

  1. Dear Friends, Happy Easter!

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