Well, here we are, counting down to the Vernal Equinox – less than thirty days to go! Spring is moving north at a pace of about 15 miles per day. Robins, already widely present here in Northeast Ohio, are well ahead of Spring’s glacial (or perhaps anti-glacial) creep. Look for crocus blossoms soon. One more Lord’s Day and the month of March will be upon us.
I know it’s just me – but Spring is my least favorite season. Don’t get me wrong. I’m as tired of Winter as anyone. Snow has lost most of its charm for me and the days are well past when I only felt cold on my skin. Cold soaks right through to the bone these days and I recall ruefully all those times I shook my head over some ‘elderly’ person leaning against the pot bellied stove in the fellowship hall. (Yes, I am that old.) I pity the people of Texas whose state has been racked by what we would consider a fairly mild and brief Winter ‘event’. But the fact that we are better prepared for Winter this side of the Mississippi doesn’t make me enjoy it anymore.
And yet – Spring, not Winter, is my least favorite season. And as much as I look forward to Summer and Fall, the looming month of March gives me no comfort. Spring is my least favorite season but March is my least favorite month. I realize official Spring only occupies the last week+ of March – nevertheless.
What is my problem – I hear you ask. Well, I recall and agree with the wisdom of my paternal grandfather – a life-long farmer who observed, March is a cheat, April is a tease and you can’t always trust May either! I hear ya, grandpa! When are orchards devastated for the whole year by killing frosts? In the Spring! (I realize I have never lived in Florida. Well, everyone’s got problems!) If a farmer wants things in place come June he/she has to fight through the agonizing transitions of Spring! As a gardener in Northeast Ohio I can tell you that in 1999, 2000, and 2001 there was a frost or an actual hard freeze on the first day of June!
Early Spring is often very difficult to distinguish from late winter. It’s kind of like hearing the depression is over and thinking, Yup, this old bone I’m gnawing on tastes better already. Oh, Spring will try – occasional warmth followed by more cold, producing enough freezing and thawing to play havoc with paved roads. Spring is the season of roof and gutter damage – and power outages. In fact, all the worst and most destructive ice-storms I recall happened in March. Come to think of it, most of the really violent weather for a heart lander like myself – is Spring weather. I haven’t tried to figure it out but I wouldn’t be surprised if the flood of Noah happened in March – or at least Spring! In my lifetime, for sure, this observation stands - in March the world is made of mud – with a rime of ice on the mud about half the time! As a minister, I try not to laugh out load when people ask – Why don’t we have an outdoor Sonrise Service this year?
OK – rant over. You have probably surmised that even though I am tired of Winter, I would like to get to Summer without the aggravation of the messy transition. But, then, transitions tend to be messy and it’s little good wishing to hibernate through them. Wake me when the building program is over and the last tweak to the order of worship is made! Or, let me walk around in a dazed stupor until the Millennium gets underway. However one interprets the Apocalyptic portions of the New Testament, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the long Winter of sin will end in a period of violent transition. It is ours to endure to the end – make that – the beginning.
Pastor and Author Terry Bailey, Senior Minister of Indian Run Christian Church