When Winter drags on like a long Minnesota goodbye, a little humor can ease the transition to Spring. So can the deeper spiritual questions we're invited to...
No matter where we live, when it’s time for Winter to depart, we wish it would do so promptly. But it never does, especially in the North Star State. It always seems to overstay its welcome, like a drawn-out Minnesota goodbye.
We want to chase it from our doorstep, but we know it won’t go until it’s ready. We instead try with all our might to engage politely, but we know we don’t care what else it has to teach us on the way out. We get passive-aggressive, try to talk about plans for the Spring, glance at the calendar, count down the days until Winter’s definitive end, by April… or May…
But none of our Midwestern sensibilities seem to have any impact: Again the temperature drops without warning. Again the soft snow melts and then freezes, obnoxiously slick and crunchy. Again the growing sunlight is darkened with sleet clouds, and the slush is darkened with mud, and we have to clean our dang doorstep! Again! If only this season would just leave already! But it lingers. We try not to sigh too irritably.
Deep Winter at least had a luminous, shapely, cozy, simplified beauty and wisdom to it. But this?! What beauty and wisdom could there be in this dawdling, droning state of Still Winter?!
The answer, of course, is plenty. It’s just hidden, as usual, beneath the un-beautiful. And so the very lingering of this Winter, though it tests our patience, does have much to teach us. It reminds us to ask:
What is still lingering in us from this Winter (or even earlier)? What are we holding onto that we have yet to let fully thaw and melt away?
What is Winter offering to take with it as it departs? What frozen leftovers can we send out the door with it?
What do we still need to hold onto for a while?
What muddy messiness are we anxiously guarding against? Do we really need to do that?
The lingering may seem like an unceremonious transition into Spring, but that’s our own perception rather than Nature’s reality. What if we instead see Winter’s long Minnesota goodbye as a call to bring more ceremoniousness? This could help us truly prepare for Spring, and may even help us be grateful Winter was here, even as we’re grateful to see it go.