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The eye of spring

The eye of the spring

The eye of spring peered through the frosted reeds. The thought of this delicate time of year, with its fragile flowers and pastel colors, often seems so far away in mid-winter;  but on this January morning at the water’s edge, the power of its steely light held all winter in a trance. Winter attempted to flex its muscles with -7 Celsius, demonstrating that it could still force us to wear warm clothes and thick-soled boots. Yet, like a child’s laugh which brings the world to a standstill, the yellow light broke through the cold mist that rose from the water’s surface and magically turned it warm.

I’ve waited so long for this morning to come. Since the waning light hours of October, I’ve thought of this January morning with Ellie the dog in the park when we would witness the magnificence of nature turning. It has been worth the wait; indeed, without it, this moment would not at all be the same. Everything to its time.

As my husband and I have both grown a year older this January, I have been thinking about time. During the first thirty years, one cannot hope for it to move quickly enough, releasing the reins on it like a thoroughbred on a race track. Thereafter, there is a short peace with time until one begins to hold the reins increasingly tightly. Life becomes more like dressage, with a greater respect for the dignity of restraint. Then there is a zone somewhere beyond 80, which I still haven’t quite understood, where the horse has been put back into its stall and where the whole business of release and restraint is a memory of the struggle. One goes more deeply into the beautiful simplicity of the child’s laugh and the effortlessness of the light that penetrates the mist in mid-January.

The snow in the back yard is marked by the shape of a sunken heart. In the evening it burned with many candles as the society of sauna brothers (a very exclusive club in our neighborhood that meets weekly to sweat and philosophize together) sang a Swedish Happy Birthday a capella from behind the fence. The sound of a male choir, with men and voices of different ages, is robust and full of musty vitality. There is a confidence in it that we will ride out the years with spirit.

Despite the rising years, I am alert once again these early mornings in January. As soon as my eyes open, I catch that glimmer of spring that breaks the coal black mornings of Scandinavian winter. The eyes that wanted to close again as soon as they opened when the light hours were on the decrease, are now open wide to milk the early mornings of their increasing light. The urge to get up and greet the day has returned and, like the bear, I leave my hibernation.

The bare branches of the fruit trees on the hill chirp. The silence of winter has been broken by the birds who know. The bulbs underground have been broken by small shoots. All of creation knows what we do not yet see. There is a revolution brewing under the surface. The birds fly into the blue sky and perch on a television antenna where the light warms their wings. On this static creation of man they can watch nature unfold.


For more about Julie Lindahl’s books and other projects, please visit www.julielindahl.com, www.storiesforsociety.com and www.nordicwellbeing.com.

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2 responses to “The eye of spring”

  1. Monica-USA says:

    My Snowdrops have started to push through the frozen ground and look for the sunshine. The days for us are already getting a little longer now. Happy Birthday Julie and here is to many, many more quiet adventures ahead of you.

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  2. Erik NorCal says:

    Hej Julie,
    For those who are paying attention here in my neck of the woods the change of seasons has begun. Despite a recent cold spell with temperature in the upper 20’s at dawn I have noticed a change of color in the gold finches, the elder berry bushes have pushed open their leaf buds and I’ve heard the first Pacific Chorus frog croaking in the pond next to my place of work. I also now have light at both ends of my day while commuting to and from work. Our cold spell has provided fantastic sunrise and sunset colors that are breath taking in their intensity. Most of my fellow bus commuters seem oblivious to this unique time to observe this gift.
    I am getting ready to start my 3rd 30 years in a couple of months and my eyes are still open to the opportunities to observe this wonderful life around me where ever I am. My grip on the reins has lessened and my focus is tempered with experience. Reports at work get done but I also go out and listen to the frogs and breathe in the icy morning air happy to be alive while walking Sandy the dog. The next 30 will be challenging for sure but isn’t the unknown always that way?

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