The end of the first COVID winter

Published 7:49 am Wednesday, February 24, 2021

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Before I begin, let me acknowledge—especially for the rule-followers among us,  those who are strapped to calendars, tied to dates, and bound by the positions of the sun—that I am aware that spring does not “officially” begin until March 20. 

And yes, that’s about a month away.

But I don’t care. I’m not waiting on a calendar date.  I spent a good chunk of the weekend outside.  Our natural world has taken little note and pays scant attention to a calendar.

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Spring,  my friends, has just begun to be sprung.

And it is about time.   I don’t know about you, but I was getting tired of our first COVID winter.  Here in the midst of global warming, the winter felt like it was the chilliest we’ve had in ages. 

Maybe it was because we were all locked inside waiting on the government to make some shot available to frighten the virus away.

Maybe it’s because many of us missed Thanksgiving and Christmas with family and friends who either didn’t want to infect us, or who didn’t want to be infected by us. 

And maybe its because we’ve all lost count of the friends and loved ones who died without a memorial service to mark their passing. 

But things change. 

And winter seems to be leaving us, admittedly in fits and starts.  But its end is within sight.

The seasons don’t always cooperate. And here in the South, they have a particular stubborn streak—especially summer. 

Nothing is harder to get rid of than a southern summer.  While our friends a few parallels of latitude above us are getting ready their snowplows, we are still sleeving sweat away.  And when our friends in Chicago and Minnesota are trying to shovel out from beneath a pile of fallen white stuff, we are raking a pile of oak leaves to burn. 

While they are shivering the night away, we are still in shorts and t-shirts and watching college football games.

But when spring comes, the world is a different place.  And isn’t it nice to look out a window at 5:30 and realize the sun has not set?   

As I’m writing this it is 35 degrees outside, but it is supposed to shoot up to 70 degrees.  Sounds like spring to me.

The first sign for me is always the maple tree.  When I am riding along and spy the beginnings of redbuds atop the maples, I know that warmth and yellow flowers and green leaves are not far behind. I feel warmer just thinking about it.

I don’t think I’d have it any other way.

And if you want a deeper symbolic meaning, Easter visits us on April 4 this year. That makes it earlier than it arrived in 2020 or in 2019, but later than it arrived two out of the past three years before that.

Easter is the real season of new beginnings.  It is the celebration of the resurrection of Christ, one or the holiest days in the Christian calendar.

Don’t we all need a new beginning,  a resurrection, a spring?  Don’t we all need to emerge from this COVID winter back out into the world?

I know I do.  I bet you do, too.

If I close my eyes I can feel the heat the sun on my face, and I can even feel warm sand between my toes. Oh my, I can hear the waves kissing the shore, and I can taste the tang of salt on my tongue.

Sure,  there is some chilly left. 

But my oh my, warmer days are just ahead.