Looking For Small Signs

The gateway between Winter and Spring in the South is a subtle one. Early March doesn't bring a swell of relief, like the beginning of June when the whole world unfurls into a canopy of green birdsong. This time of year, when the trees are still bare and the mornings still chilly, it is not always clear that Spring is coming. In fact, every year around this time I start to doubt that Winter will ever end, that the world will ever be warm and vibrant again. And so I practice looking for signs of hope.

The signs are subtle: tiny buds forming on a bare branch, a single purple crocus pushing up through a mat of brown leaves, the soft hoot of a morning dove floating in through a window. I have to slow down, get close and be quiet, because they aren't things I can notice from far away, while rushing by, without listening. When I choose to do this, to fill my awareness with all the small signs that the world is waking up, then my doubt dissolves. I know that a new cycle of life—of birds and flowers, of ideas and movements—has already begun. And I remember that hope is not a passive state of being. Hope is a verb.

To a season of hope,


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