Winter and spring, hope and love

I’ve always loved Sylvia Plath’s Ariel – her version, the one she set out before she died.

I think we forget sometimes that she was so much more than the tragedy of her death. Because Ariel has so much hope in it. It begins to with LOVE and ends with SPRING.

Plath slogs through the winter in her work. She doesn’t shy away from the cold and pain and loss of it. The fury and the burn that can seep into the dark and cold.

But still – before and after – LOVE and SPRING – like bright punctuations of light guiding between the storms.

Because to me, those words, those feelings, those experiences, are so much hope.

They bring sunrise because it’s easier to feel hopeful when it doesn’t seem like the sun is hiding away from you. As the darkness shortens, there’s less night for things to go bump in.

They bring comfort and safety – a place to breathe when everyone else feels harder, scarier.

It doesn’t mean that they don’t have their difficulties.

Spring brings hayfever where beauty and discomfort mix in blurred vision and itchy noses.

Love means letting someone else see all of your deep and dark and trusting they’re as OK with it as you are with theirs.

It doesn’t mean that, even with the promise of light in the future, sometimes the winter feels too cold, too hard. It’s end seemingly impossible when all you can see is frost. The darkness feels too long. The promise of warmth may not feel terribly useful when your fingers are frozen.

Sometimes you have to walk through the cold for what feels like forever – when you see sunrises burning in the distance but can’t yet feel their warmth.

But for all that it may seem trite sometimes, we are surrounded by LOVE and SPRING more than we know. Even as it lies dormant during the harder times.

Just as spring can bring unexpected flowers, love can bring unexpected kindness.

Even in the cold, LOVE and SPRING are always waiting for us.