seasons of nature. seasons of grief.

Spring is in the air, and with it all the glorious resurrections of the grass, the trees, the flowers. The apparent death of winter is losing its grip on the earth as new life emerges in laughing light. This revolving pattern of transitions is one of my favorite things about Creation.

Through the seasons, I am reminded that though today is blanketed in blistering, smothering heat, there will come a day when the gentle breeze will caress the golden strands of aspens. Though today the earth is cold and silent, buried beneath polluted ice, there will come a day when the white buds gather around a branch like a holy circle of angels’ wings, enfolding upon and guarding their own secrets.

This week would have been my Mom’s 74th birthday. It was a spring day, but the winter air gathered outside my door, ominous of that night’s impending snow. And so like a caterpillar, inherently knowledgeable of some sort of transition, some sort of breakthrough, I tucked myself into a cocoon of sorrowful remembering. I watched videos of her, I lingered on pictures, I looked back through her comments on Facebook as if they were droppings on a trail that led to a treasure; X marks the spot where she was but will never be again, but yet where she will always be found. And at the end of the day, I emerged from my encasing, tears tearing and blooming into the wings of butterflies.

In my cocoon of grief, all seasons merged and overlapped. I was with my Mom in the summer of joy, barbecues on her back-porch and lawn chairs positioned in the driveway, watching the local fireworks. I was with my Mom in the winter of quiet, long pensive conversations together about life and death–both to arrive too quickly. I was with my Mom in the spring, driving in the darkness to and from the casino, celebrating her birthday with the hopes of luck’s companionship. I was with my Mom in the fall, meandering through mountain roads, following the gilded ribbon of changing aspens on the sparkling slopes.

Grief is the bleeding harmony of all four seasons, moving in and out of each other, unbound by calendar dates or nature’s biology. Sometimes there is sunflower joy, which smiles across the face in a private moment. Sometimes there is blizzard pain, so raw it takes the breath away. Sometimes, the breath is stolen from that very moment in which the smile triumphs.

And even then, I try to remind my sad heart, this revolving pattern of transitions is one of my favorite things about Creation.