While my friends from the west side of our state are posting photos of flowers, budding trees, and honeybees; spring up in the mountains of eastern Washington is a bit less picturesque.
Our first snow came in the fall and we’ve lived for more than three months without seeing dirt. As spring touches the mountain meadow where we live, it comes to us bearing mud, muck, crackling strands of dead grass, and beautiful hope.
Spring is an awkward thing here. Frigid nights and bright cool mornings that blend with hot afternoons full of the mush of melting snow, the gurgle of overflowing creeks, and the splash of giant puddles. For part of March and all of April, our cars are coated in mud as is our dog. When our sons were little, we got them puddle stomping boots only to realize that we should have invested in body suits. They stomped joyously until even their hair was soaked. However, clothes and boys and even dogs can be washed. But the awkward beauty of spring is a powerful thing.
It is like us, growing in the Lord, one halting step at a time. Sometimes, we will see the roads all melt and the creek in the meadow begin to run under the snow only to have a sudden storm pile sixteen fresh inches over our hope for spring. It can make one despair. But even a foot and a half more of winter’s touch cannot stop spring. It comes every year, eventually. Just as we are prone to stumble into sin or rebellion or doubt even in the middle of our walk with God, spring gets pushed back. But the sun prevails eventually and the snows will melt despite all set backs. Such is God’s work in us.
And that very struggle bears fruit. I know of children who won’t swim if the water is cold. Used to pools and bright August waters, they shun the joys of the river and the clean jolt of a leap into a lake. Not so with out boys. In their early years, when winter slowly receded, their joy at seeing spring arrive sent them into the puddles, creeks, and pond long before any warmth arrived. They are strong swimmers now, able to plunge into a frigid ocean or bask in breath-taking alpine lakes that make souls used to a gentler springs shudder. Last week I watched them carry an ax out to our pond to quite literally hack their way down to the water. They know how to relish in the tiny signs of approaching warmth. May my soul grow just as strong in hope of the Lord’s work as their determined hope in the coming of spring!
While our spring is a long and awkward thing, it is full of splendor. Wildflowers will cover the forest floor all summer long in a breathtaking beauty that reminds me of all that my Lord has in store for us. If we can hold onto hope, spring will indeed come. And after spring, despite how long the land lay dormant under the snow, we will see the full glory of summer.