Spring offers inspiration for our journeys ahead

This column was originally published as part of my “Looking Homeward” series at Herald-Dispatch.com.

She has teased us for weeks. But finally, she’s getting serious and beginning to dominate.

Spring has flexed her muscle, pushing her way through winter’s tight grasp. Granted, an occasional skirmish results in flip-flops one day and boots the next. But spring is gaining momentum. She may have passed the point of no return. Perhaps this season of growth and renewal is here to stay.

With spring’s arrival, nature reawakens.

In our gardens, frozen futures thaw, releasing winter-stored energies into bushes sprouting new growth, tinged with color. Trees trimmed in the lace of spring prepare for the load of full-grown leaves and brace themselves for summer winds that will demand strength through flexibility.

With spring’s arrival, human nature reawakens, too.

A little boy, about six, stops by a garden wall and leans his bicycle, pausing for a few moments to contemplate the tulips and stealing a smell. Joggers strip to shorts, hanging up winter warm-ups, basking in the freedom of lighter loads and longer days. Park benches sport more clientele as people-watching resumes in the warmth of the gentle spring sun. Even the voices of people strolling down the sidewalk seem more vibrant, with an energized cadence and pitch fueled by the newness in the air.

Our molecules seem to move faster as spring invites us to participate in her rebirth.

Lawnmower oil is changed, wheels greased as part-time gardeners gear-up for another season of the battle of blades between machine and nature as they seek the perfect lawn. They begin the season-long dialogue, complaining when it’s time to mow and complaining when lack of growing prohibits mowing.

But the conversation has begun.

Looking homeward, we prepare our maiden voyage to a favorite picnic spot. There little ones will chase whatever needs chasing and parents will chase them. Then cold lunches will be spread on table cloths that flutter, trying to be kites, and peanut butter jars become anchors.

Then sharp breezes suggest another look at the calendar, while a Thermos of coffee wards off adult chills, and kids snuggle for warmth in windbreakers thrown into the car at the last moment.

This time of year is so transitional — hot one day, cold the next — reminding us that daily life changes like the weather. There are ups and downs, joys and sorrows, successes and failures. No two days are alike in this changing season; no two days are the same in the arena of life.

Yet, we enjoy the transformation process, ever mindful of the conflicted nature at the cusp of any new stage. As we witness spring’s steadfast progress, we, too, can be inspired to keep pressing forward toward the good that we know is ahead.

“An optimist is the human personification of spring,” Susan J. Bissonette reminds us.

Perhaps our own sap rises and dormant seeds begin to develop as we experience new growth rooted from winter’s season of survival. Nature demonstrates in fine fashion the restorative properties of spring. It’s the season to view life “half-full.”

Let nature’s journey inspire ours.