Every year about this time I witness what I call a “war”. This war is fought with many skirmishes. It is a “war” between winter and spring. Winter wages a valiant fight to prolong its presence. On the other hand, spring wants winter to know that it is the victor and its victory was declared by the calendar on March 20. I must confess that I am rooting for spring in this annual contest of the seasons.
Over the years, around this time, I have fallen into a ritual of checking the trees for signs of swelling buds and the slightest appearance of green. Thus far this year the tenacity of winter is successfully resisting every effort of spring to claim its victory and make its presence felt. There is not the slightest sign of green on the trees. So I made my way to another place where spring has manage to plant its victory flag in its battles with winter.
On our church near the large double doors, where the downspout meets the wall and under the eaves, a couple of birds are making their nest. This is certainly a promise of new life which is a major theme of spring. I derive much pleasure at watching these birds busily building their nest to bring their young into the world. It is a marvel how just with their beaks they weave their nest tightly into a neat and comfortable home. One of the birds flew to the ground. My eyes followed it as it landed. It was then that my eyes fell on it. It was a tiny purple flower. There were no leaves, only the flower. It looked strangely incomplete without any leaves. But it was assign of spring’s victory over the persistent winter. However, winter will not surrender without a real fight. It will not be defeated by the mere decree of the calendar that this is the time of spring.
The very next day, Wednesday before Holy Thursday, there were rain, wet snow and cold temperatures which all conspired to cover the ground with ice. The purple flower perished. Winter had won another battle. Incidentally, the bird’s completed nest has since fallen to the ground, perhaps blown down by the heavy winds. Another spring thing destroyed. But spring is determined to win this war.
This week, the week of Easter there are many signs of spring. The robins are more plentiful. More green leaves are making their appearances out of the soil. Temperatures are climbing. And a few flowers greet us with their cheerful colours. Spring is about life, new life after the long, cold, grey winter. This is the message of Easter. Life defeats death. On Good Friday Death seemed to have won the victory. On Easter day Death’s short-lived victory came to an end. Christ rose from the dead. In him God drew the sting and victory of death when God raised Jesus from the dead. Life wins.
In the battles between winter and spring the latter will always win. Life is stronger than death. There will be many more little purple flowers, all complete with leaves.