Bilbo Baggins. My favorite character in Lord of the Rings. He loved an adventure, always figuring another one was to be had around the corner, if he just kept on going. Spring is in the air today, even though the official start is more than a month away, and my thoughts travel the road with Bilbo every spring.
I suppose, if you’ve never lived in a climate that experiences four distinct seasons, you would never miss it. Indeed, many people I know, because they have lived through changing seasons, would love nothing more than to move to Florida or sunny southern California and escape the frigid winter days and howling winter winds. But I grew up in Connecticut and lived for close to thirty years in San Antonio, and as for me, I would never give up my seasons again.
The seasons are like the cycle of life to me. There is an opening of the spirit when the air begins to warm and the first blossoms appear. If you’ve never seen forsythia bushes ablaze against the stark grey of March, you are missing something profound.
I went out to our little patio garden today to survey the damage. Pretty sad state of affairs, I’m afraid to say. After two years of trying to save our beautiful geraniums from the harsh cold by dragging them into the garage at night and on bitter days and then dragging them out into the sunshine when the temperatures rose above freezing, we gave up and let nature have its way. The pots were getting too heavy for me after the plants had grown and been replanted two or three times, and I was running out of room in the garage. Devastation was everywhere, until I happened to look up at our Carolina jasmine vine and noticed hundreds of tiny buds and one flower about to bloom.
We will replant and the garden will be just as beautiful as before, and it will be all the more glorious because we’ve been without it for four months already.
There is a song that Bilbo sings as he leaves on yet another journey. One of the verses was poignant to me even the first time I read the trilogy when I was a young teenager: “I sit beside the fire and think/of how the world will be/when winter comes without a spring/that I shall ever see.” My father’s birthday was this week; he would have been 89. In a few weeks I shall have seen six springs my father has not been a part of, but somehow I feel that he’s on my journey with me, as my mother is and my sister, may their memories be a blessing, and my grandparents and their parents before them. I have been shaped by all those who went before me, and my journey is their journey, as I know my children will walk the trail of life for me, too, one day.
Yes, I know that a week from now we could be hunkering down in yet another winter storm, but this “spring” day, this tease of what is surely to come, makes me want to put on my hiking shoes and find the adventure around the corner.