About a month ago on the first morning of my spring break, in the middle of March, I woke up to flurries.
Growing up in Indiana I’ve learned to adapt to Mother Nature’s whimsy—sixty degrees and sunny one day, polar vortex the next—and going to school in Wisconsin has taught me what cold really means.
Still, the sick of winter blues and restlessness tends to hit me with angry force during the “in like a lion” stage of spring, when my freckles are dull and I’ve forgotten what warmth from the sun actually feels like.
While waiting for the lamb, I was thinking a lot about timing. There’s of course time in the literal sense—setting our clocks forward an hour for daylight savings, which suggests this weird idea that humans think they can control time. Then there’s the climate’s clock—which humans seem to be manipulating and destroying at an alarming rate, but I digress—which includes the inevitable change of seasons.
And then there’s the proverbial universe life clock. If anyone has a better way to wordsmith this idea, let me know.
Life’s timing can be uncanny, wonderful, and awe-inspiring to the same degree that it can be frustrating, heartbreaking, and downright confusing. There’s sometimes a graceful, manageable ebb and flow; other times, you find yourself in the epicenter of a disastrous coming-at-you-from-all-sides tornado one second and then waiting for anything at all to happen in a comfortable sitting place the next.
The proverbial clock has a rhythm we don’t understand during the present; sometimes I am so in tune with life’s events that the clock might as well talk to me like Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast. Sometimes I wonder if the clock is ticking at all.
Now, the trees in Milwaukee are growing green and the weather has begun to tease us with warmer days. During spring, you can usually find me flinging open windows and breaking my hot Americano streak in favor of a triumphant cold brew. Up until this point in my life, there has been a pretty reliable schedule: finishing a school year, summertime, back to school. This spring is obviously different, with no set ticking; rather than a clear, predictable digital clock, I feel like I’m using an indecipherable sundial. I’m trying to look at the future with more of a Natasha Bedingfield “Unwritten” spirit rather than a blank-Word-document-despite-looming-deadline sort of dread.
The trees shed their leaves and make themselves vulnerable in order to grow. Now they’re blooming. They will become vulnerable again. Then bloom.
We go through periods of decay, growth, and bloom too. Our human clock isn’t dependable or predictable, just like sometimes the climate’s clock doesn’t make sense (see aforementioned blizzard in March). But the cold does melt away to spring eventually—the lion passes the torch to the lamb—and with warm cheeks and blooming senses of self we look back on the confusing timing of our personal winter—our personal periods of vulnerability—with forgiveness and understanding and trust.
And Lord knows if clocks do start talking to me, I’ll have a completely different problem on my hands.