Something feels off. Something isn’t right. I know it’s probably actually me, but in the back of my heart I still feel the pulse of a larger discordance, even though no one else seems to feel it. I am not in my happy place. It’s been a week or so now, and I just can’t shake it. It’s spring. Spring is making me sad.
This is a strange thing to write, I know. Believe me, it is an even stranger thing to feel. And yet the balance of nature feels askew. I have never suffered from seasonal affective disorder before. I love winter, I love spring. I love seasons! It’s why I live in Vermont, and why I would go mad in Southern California or Florida. I love to watch the leaves change colors, and I rejoice at the first blizzard of the year. I love to see the buds poking out of the fresh earth, and I love the adventures of summer. But I’m still waiting for winter, and now spring has arrived ahead of schedule and ruined everything.
People around me seem ready for spring. “What beautiful weather!” they say over and over again. The flowers are coming out. The warm breezes are beginning to blow. And this should make me happy. And it would have, if I had been sitting in the cold and dark for many months. If we had had a few good months of sub-zero temperatures and blustery flurries battering our doors, then I would be outside doing a dance of joyous celebration this week. Instead I am sitting inside, miserable, wishing for snow.
What is the point of resurrection without death? How can we celebrate what we regain if we never really lost it? It is the same temperature now in March as it was in December. The first Burlington December ever on record without significant snowfall, by the way. We had a few days here and there of very cold days. We maybe even had a whole week in a row. But it was not a cold winter. There were no blizzards. The plants are confused. The ground did not freeze well enough or early enough, and the squirrels have eaten the bulbs that were planted for spring. Spring, which ought to be here in another month or so, is already in full swing. It is too early. It is too late. The world is wrong. My soul is scraping at the rough edges of what most people seem to think is a blessing. Can’t they see? Can’t they feel?
“The Winter That Wasn’t” – this is what I heard a car commercial call it on the radio. That actually made me feel better. THE winter that wasn’t. As if it were a one time thing. An anomaly. We just accidentally had that one weird year where winter forgot to come. And the people that don’t like winter were happy, and the people that do like it looked forward to the next year when the seasons righted themselves and we got back to business as usual. But is that true? Is this a one-time thing? With every year being warmer than the last, I worry that this is only the first winter that wasn’t. It was 68 degrees on Christmas Eve! The first week of February was in the 50s! In Vermont! Yeah, we get a thaw sometimes, but this is out of control! This feels like the total breakdown of the planet!
I don’t know what there is for me to do about all of this. In a way, I’m glad that you’re all so happy that the weather is getting warmer. And in another way, it terrifies me that you are not all scared with me. Is this what you want? Really? You want it to be in the 50s in December? And January? And February? And March? Really? I would have previously said that if that is what you want, Vermont is not the right place for you. But now, I guess I can say “welcome home.” But where is the place for me? Where is the place where nature is respected and seasons are welcomed and warning signs are paid attention to and trouble is troubling? It melted. I guess I will suck it up, try to be happy, think about it, pray about it, meditate on it, and then do whatever I can to transform the world around me into the place I feel it ought to be. And so if you are wondering why I am not out grinning at spring with you, it’s because I’m still here in the fall, waiting to get out my sled.