"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I think about Japan, the Mideast, Haiti, Africa. The front page of our newspaper tells the story of a beautiful young woman who applied drain cleaner to her face, claimed it had been splashed on her by a stranger, and now lives disfigured with the course of her life forever changed. I read a memoir about women in prison, many there for long years as punishment for crimes in which they were the biggest victims.

So much suffering. More, it seems, than historically usual, although how would we ever know?

Most of us live lives of relative ease and some semblance of security. We're mostly healthy, surrounded by abundance, love and are loved. We have suffered, do suffer, will suffer - that's the thing about being human. And while the comforts we take for granted today could all be gone in a blink, we tend to move forward with optimism and grace.

Mostly we choose to be grateful for what we have, to pray for those less fortunate than ourselves, and to embrace whatever comes as part of the adventure we signed on for when we were born.

This spring that is more winter than winter was has worn my optimism to tatters, even knowing how small this suffering is in the bigger picture - a tiny prickly bush in the larger forest of sad and pain-gnarled trees. The damp chill seems to have somehow frozen hope, and drained energy like a battery left outside on a below zero night.

For the first time in my life, I check the weather forecast in the mornings, hoping beyond hope to see gold among the gray, and temperatures that would render my breath invisible. Finding gold to be an extreme rarity in the last two months, I pray for weather experts to be wrong, as they are more often than not. The problem this season has been when they are wrong, we get snow instead of sunshine.

The usual gifts of spring have been arriving since February, not in their customary lushness, but present nonetheless.

Crocuses and hyacinths and forsythia bloomed and are now gone. The flowering plum hesitantly blushed its way through March, and is beginning to lose its pink before ever reaching the full glorious glow it offers most years. Birds mate, nest and sing the arrival of day as they do every spring. Trilliums announce the coming of Easter. The neon green of cottonwoods buds flickers itself into gray air. Thatch ants take advantage of every dry or warm second to swarm and build mounds that will double their current size before the end of summer.

I marvel that so much life abounds in conditions that are colder and wetter than most days we had midwinter.

And maybe that's what keeps us all going, no matter the level of our suffering, discomfort or loss at any given time. Life finds a way, even in the chill of grieving or the shift of climate or the predictability of death. We hold and celebrate the rare warm moments of sunlight, offer our inner light to those sitting in darkness, and learn to wait, to simply be, without despairing.


DJan said...

Boy,do I ever hear you on this one, Deb. It's been a really hard spring this year. Tomorrow we will go hiking in rain at Deception Pass... and we just keep on hoping that soon it will be sunny and warm for a few days in a row. Very thoughtful and insightful post. It helps me to know I am not alone.

Retired English Teacher said...

Can we say that this spring has been a disappointment? I am trying to put my finger on why that is as I respond to your blog. Despite the disappointment, I also rejoice in the sunlight when we can enjoy it without the ever present wind that we have had.

Kathryn Grace said...

Come to San Francisco! Though we've had plenty of rain, we've had more sunny days than not. I pray blessings for you, and an ease to your suffering, if such there be.

Wanda..... said...

Just simply being...sometimes that's good enough, just appreciating the moment. I spend a good deal of my time lately, trying to convince my husband...it's a fine day, really... not that cold at all! :)

Barb said...

A wonderful metaphor you weave between weather and the human condition. I wait also - it is good to have patience tinged with a bit of hope, I think. What else can we do, since we are obviously not the ones in control?

Anonymous said...

Greetings from Southern California

I added myself to follow your blog.
I invite you to visit my blog and become a follower if you want too.

God bless you and have a nice day :-)

Niki said...

it has been a tough winter and so far, spring. Buy some bright tulips, breathe, pray, call a friend, count blessings, and know that the good stuff is coming.
hugs to you

Out of My Mind said...

Woah, that one was so very deep that I have to pause to consider my response.

I think the human condition has always been this bad, even worse. It is just that, more than ever, we are pelted with the reality of tragedy the minute it occurs. The media provides us with vivid pictures of the event and whips us into a frenzy. Life has always offered frightening circumstances and human suffering. Just imagine media coverage of Genghis Kahn's rule, the explosion of Pompei, the burning of witches at the stake and on and on and on. It just seems worse because we now have a front row seat.

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

We hope...and patiently wait--and in the meantime, our heart must be thankful for what we have.

What we have may be exactly what other's are waiting for.

This is a very thoughtful post, Deb.


yaya said...

Because of this winter I'm appreciating every flower, bloom, warm breeze and sunlight.

Linda Myers said...

I've gotten away from the PNW three times since January - to Mexico, Louisiana and New Mexico. Sun all three places. Still, my heart lightens as the plane drifts over downtown Seattle toward the airport.

Today I sat in my car all afternoon at a rainy Habitat for Humanity build while my husband build scaffolding with several other men. I'm grateful for healthy bodies and willing spirits. Regardless of the weather.

Lavi said...

It's true, for farmers, the winter's return is a big problem. And not only for them.

Over here, we've had rain at most, which is good for now. I hope it can be this way for a longer while, summer is dreadful.

I understand your worry for others, but there will always be suffering for somebody in the world, at any given moment. People are hurt, die, catastrophes happen, big or small. Not all are announced in the news though.

We should make the best of what we have and help as much as we can where we can.


I have to keep remembering that all of life is ebb and flow.
Right now we are between cold with frost this morning and warm/hot. Usually when warm weather hits here in OH it comes in a burst of 90 deg. days so I'm trying to enjoy it's slow arrival.
AND today I see the sun shining through the white buds on the pear tree in the front yard.
God is good.
Blessings Deb. Barb

kario said...

I was listening to the local NPR station the other day and they were talking to a well-known meteorologist. I took heart when he explained that this is a pretty typical La Nina year - very cold and wet, and it won't be like this again for many, many years. Seems that so long as I remember there is an end to this and some 'reason' for it, I can hang in there.

And while I'm sad to see the pink blossoms give way to green leaves, I do love it when the wind blows and sends a snowstorm of pink petals swirling through my yard.

Wanda said...

Me, too.

I pray for optimism and grace.

LauraX said...

Oh Deb, such beautiful writing... holding grief and hope in balance. Your last sentence a perfect, wise summation.

Anonymous said...

We're on an old fashioned railroad journey. Occasional bursts of speed. Occasional stunning sunsets. The trick is to find the gold in the sky, the gold in the dark days. The trick is to enjoy the ride.

It's spring here in Northern Virginia with the beautiful, beautiful blossoms. I enjoy the sunny days and even have been enjoying the gray ones, especially the ones filled with rain.

Thanks for stopping by. My daughter who had neck surgery is doing MUCH better today, so I'm grateful for this. And Easter is coming. I love everything it stands for, especially resurrection, which is what we're seeing in spring time.
Ann Carbine Best’s Long Journey Home

Jessica Nelson said...

Wow, I can't believe it's still so cold up there! Is it because of La Nina?
Insightful post. I hope you spot some gold very, very soon. :-)

#1Nana said...

The thing about all these gray days is that when I see a splash of color, it really stands out. Perhaps I appreciate it more because it is rare.

Today I saw a field of black and white cows. They are unusual here, our cows are mostly the ordinary brown variety. I really appreciated the beauty of those stark black and white cows against the background of the green field.

Maybe the drab days are the universe's way of reminding me to appreciate the beauty that is there if I'm willing to look for it. Or...maybe it's just climate change!

Pearl said...

Come to Minnesota!

Spring has been wonderful. It's the winter -- six full months of it this time -- that has made it a joyous, green-budded relief.

Frankly, the ability to go outdoors without wearing several pounds of protective clothing in and of itself is something to rejoice in!


Linda Hoye said...

I am struggling with the steel-gray days and never-ending rain this year also. Sunny days are coming though, I have to believe that!

Donna said...

The winter has been extraordinaily long...but also emotionally...for both of us. You have had tragedy and will be so glad when another chapter is turned, I bet. I because my daughter miscarried this winter and has been going through a very painful divorce. I, too, will be glad when the spring warmth comes!
I think it's close, friend, I really do!!

Desiree said...

You are such a gifted writer and tackle each topic 'of the day' with so much clarity, depth and wisdom, it's a gift being able to share in the way your mind works and to come here to gain enlightenment. Thank you, Deb, for being who you are and true to your own calling and for sharing yourself so generously with all who stumble upon this precious space in Blogland!

PS Had a glass of red wine with my evening meal...if I sound too soppy, put it down to that ;)


Des xoxo

deb colarossi said...

oh, Deb, just wow.
and it is a terribly cold unusual spring here as well. the buds and blooms are very behind schedule.

the wanderer said...

it seems (way deep inside) we never do give up hope no matter how much we suffer or how long we are made to wait!
i just love this post so much.