Spring trees and imperceptible growth.
It’s the first of March, and the trees are still bare. They lost their leaves in the cool of autumn, following a summer that left us all worn out and dry. The damp winter is fading into spring, and warm, bright days feel like a gift. I lay on blankets and admire clouds, and I cherish this fleeting familiarity.
Over and over, I am recognizing myself not in the frivolous clouds or gentle rain or hesitant sunshine. Instead, I see myself in the trees, lanky and bold, bravely standing in the between-ness of this season. The process of rebirth is painful and it is difficult. Some days it feels as if no amount of sunlight could change the fact that life is hard, but still the trees are standing.
The spring and summer surrounding graduation were undeniably difficult. I broke down in a lot of ways, and my weakness stared me in the face on more than one occasion. That season ripped out most everything except the solid foundations of my life. Since then, I’ve found healing and growth in unexpected ways, and I’m grateful. But part of me still feels bare like the trees, recoiling from the warmth of springtime.
I am not the same as I was a year ago. A year ago I was more or less directionless. Fear was gripping me harder than I realized, setting in just as the temperature rose. The summer became, ironically, a symbol of my darkness. I welcomed the fall with joy. And so now I sit in the sun with a twinge of uncertainty. Direction and hope and peace are present now. The future is clearer and brighter. But much like the trees, I am still in a season of nearly imperceptible growth.
Yet still, green leaves and new flowers continue to appear around me and within me. With each warm day, I am tempted to be caught up in instinctive nostalgia and residual fear. Instead, I choose to remember the whole story. I name the fear, both past and present, but I also name the truth. And instead of lamenting the loss of my turtlenecks and boycotting springtime, I celebrate a new beginning.
Standing in opposition of what I can’t control, be it weather or traffic or the fact that kale is going out of season, is anything but productive. So, like the trees, I will rise up to meet the warm sun and the cool rain. I will allow this season to bring out the best in me, beauty I have yet to see. And I will continue to grow.