Spring Break

by vernoje

Temperatures hit 80 in the Sonoran Desert today.  I don’t mean to gloat, but wow.  It was incredible.  If you can beg, borrow, or steal an airplane ticket to Tucson, do it.  Life is too short to spend it shivering.

There’s something special about that first spring day.  Even if the Sonoran winter happens to be nothing more than a little frost on a few mornings and one freak snow storm that melted by noon, there’s still a sense of awakening once the sun sinks into your bones again.

In the desert your body re-calibrates.  When you move to a hot, dry place, winter shifts from months of howling winds and blowing snow and below zero nights to a few weeks of “dang, it’s cold.”  I don’t care if was only 32 degrees. When your body has re-calibrated, then that’s cold.  And cold is cold.

But back to my main point.  It’s that first magical, wonderful warm day of spring I’m talking about.  I think those days are God’s way of saying, “Hey, I’m still here.  I haven’t forgotten you.  You think you know what good is, but you don’t even have a clue.”

I remember those days when I was a young man back in east Tennessee.  It usually came sometime in March. We would be about a week past one of those end of winter snow storms…one of those snow storms that hits you in the gut right when you thought that stuff was over.  The ground has been covered in white AGAIN.  The temperature has plunged to single digits AGAIN.  Then the melting starts and the snow goes away and the ground is a soggy, muddy mess with water draining everywhere and you wonder how much more you can take.

Then you wake up one morning and something is different.  There’s this high-pitched twittering noise.  What’s that? And you realize, oh yeah birds.  I remember birds.  They seem to know some celestial switch has been flipped.  You look out under the dogwood trees and there’s color.  Yellow color against the brown.  How did those crocus get there?

You step outside wearing your usual Michelin Man puffy jacket with a toboggan pulled low over your ears, and its like, “Hey, my nose isn’t flash freezing into a rock-hard piece of brittle cartilage ready to fall off the next time it brushes against something!”  You get in the car and it starts immediately…none of the typical phlegmatic engine coughing.

At noon you leave campus for lunch and there it is.  You almost forgot about its existence.   You thought maybe it was never coming back.  Cold and snow and darkness of the soul had almost consumed you, but now there it is once again in its primordial glory…the sun!

You roll the car window down and breathe in the sweet essence of that most rare and precious aroma…spring.  All things are possible again.  The past is forgotten.  The man you are has been over-taken by the man you might become.  Life is full of hope and promise.  Sweetness and ecstasy wait just over the sun warmed, grass greening, blue sky touching hill before you.

Mmm.  I close my eyes even now and remember the sensation of those days.  It’s the taste of resurrection.  The glimpse of eternity.  The hope of life.  All rolled up into one glorious day.  And it’s free.  No one could have given it to you, and no one can take it away.  And it’s yours to do with what you will.

Spring has come to the Sonoran Desert today.  It’s heading for a place near you…soon.

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