Was it really that cold? How much snow did we shovel? This winter ended less than a week ago, as hard and grueling a winter as many of us have seen in ages. And yet, after only a couple of days of outstanding Spring weather, it doesn’t seem all that bad now. Springtime has a way of doing that. It soothes all ills and smoothes the hard edges of memory. It’s Spring, and all is forgiven.

And so we think back on the winter of 2009-10 and remember the terrible beauty and exhilaration of a blizzard, the ethereal silence of a great city buried in deep snow. The wonder and joy of a great snowfall always brings out the child within each of us, no matter how old the child grows. The pain-in-the-butt part of heavy snows in big cities is forgotten on the first magnificent Spring day. The shoveling, the scary driving conditions, the competition for parking spots, the black slush, the piles and piles of snow making a trip the corner store an ordeal, all that seems okay now, like the whole thing was just a lot of good clean fun. Almost like it never happened.

As much as rebirth, Spring is about survival, as in “Yeah, Winter, you did your worst, but we’re still standing!” Spring is about celebrating your vitality and stamina, to make it through another year to witness another sweet Spring. It really is a mystery why we don’t measure our years beginning in Spring, say with March 20th or April 1st as New Year’s Day. How did we miss that one?

We begin again in Spring. We plant, we clean, we paint and build, we make our plans. We reclaim the land from the ice and snow and venture out to places we haven’t been for a whole season. Everything is as it was, as we knew it would be, but just had to see for ourselves. The familiar sights, sounds and smells return, and the flavor of the air itself is different. It’s Spring and you’re full of an almost manic energy to feel and touch and taste and do!

There’s so much to do in Spring, and the possibilities are endless. It is the most optimistic of seasons, a true beginning. Spring is not cynical, or disappointed or bitter or weary. Spring is innocent, trusting, hopeful and pure. Where Winter challenges, Summer hypnotizes and the Autumn braces us, Spring wraps itself around us unasked, like a small child demanding affection. No one can refuse.

Our parkas, scarves and heavy boots are still in the hallway, and we absently wonder why we ever needed them. How silly, how strange they look now. Only last week we were tramping around like anonymous, misshapen bundles of humanity scurrying from one warm place to the next, looking neither left nor right. Seems a lifetime ago on a luscious Spring Day. Now we stroll, chatting with neighbors, seeing how big the babies on the block grew over the Winter, finding out who’s planting tomatoes already, taking an inventory of the local surroundings and absorbing the strength of the sun. Very reassuring.

The ice cream trucks ring in the season, the musical laughter of children answers their bells. The ice cream trucks are always first, before a green blade or leaf or even the first robin appears, just as it should be. Ice cream is as important a part of creation as there is, there’s simply no denying that fact of life. In this brand new world of Springtime and ice cream and green meadows, the laughing children pronounce the world to be absolutely perfect and this sweet gift of life is renewed yet again. It’s Springtime. Happy New Year.

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