The Wildly Unpredictable Hope of Spring

I always say that fall and spring are my favorite seasons – usually in the dead of winter or scorching summer when I’m looking forward to relief from extreme temperatures. But as the winter freeze begins to thaw, I find 80 degrees with glittering sunshine one day and 50 degrees with overcast skies and pouring rain the next to be unsettling. I seem to forget this unpredictability from year to year. There hasn’t been a spring yet that I haven’t been taken by surprise as the winds whip through the fields, stirring up emotions.

I think I’ve always been influenced by the weather although I haven’t always known it. When I was in high school, we moved from Arizona to Oregon, which is known for grey, dreary winters. Finally, the sun appeared. I felt euphoric. I had boundless energy. I couldn’t stop smiling. I couldn’t even walk without skipping. I remember a similar day after a long winter during my first year in Russia.

Now, I’m more in tune to how the weather affects my emotions. I realize that days on end without sunshine zap my energy and make me moody and lethargic. Yet that first glorious day of spring still sweeps me off my feet without warning. “Winter is over!!!!” I declare impetuously, denying the unpredictability of the season like a bird that keeps trying to fly through a window.

Year after year, I dive headfirst into that pool of sunshine, basking and wallowing in the glorious golden glow, only to come up for air and receive a cold slap of chilly air that smacks the smile right off my face.

I never learn.Rainy Reflection

It always takes someone else commenting, “Yep, it’s spring. Warm one day, cold the next.” Or, “Wind – that’s spring for you.” to remind me that, oh yeah, this happens every year.

Why is it that there are some lessons we never learn? Some facts we know, but resist with all our being? Why do I refuse to believe a grey day will inevitably follow a sunny one?

If you don’t know me, you might say that I’m just a positive person. If you do know me, you know that isn’t the reason. I’m a realist. I see the problems (and usually a few ways to fix them); it makes me a great project manager, and really annoying to people who just want to throw out grand ideas.

I scoff at perpetual optimists, so it clearly isn’t my Pollyanna nature. It must be something else.

Perhaps hope?

Hope for a better tomorrow. Hope that we can figure it out. Hope that this time things will be better and stay better.

Living on hope has sustained many a person through tough times. Without hope we give up. Taking away a person’s hope is a death sentence, leaving them a bitter, empty shell.

Spring is a fitting metaphor for life. Unpredictable. Hot then cold, teasing plants and humans with life-giving warmth then swooping in with a killing freeze. Yet always there’s the hope that today is the day it stays warm. Today is the day we turn the corner and the habit sticks, the problem is resolved, we figure it out. Knowing a bad day will come again, but still hoping that this time it won’t.