I spent the whole winter shivering. It was not unusual to hear me talk about moving to California so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the snow. I stayed inside, frowning dramatically at the snowflakes that piled up on the ground outside. The only hint of spring was a plastic solar-powered flower that waved at me from my windowsill. Cheerful.
It was Monday morning, when I stepped outside all bundled up in winter layers, that I noticed it. It wasn’t that the cold had left the air, because the temperature was hardly above freezing. It wasn’t that the snow had disappeared from the earth, since it was clearly draped over everything. Maybe it was just that the earth had finally reached a point on its orbit around the sun that made it click into place — I don’t know — but suddenly it was spring. I could feel the sunlight on my face and smell the sweet, warm scent of spring in the air.
That feeling is the best thing in the world. In an instant, everything feels alive. I get way too excited and walk around in short-sleeves. Anywhere else on earth, students walking around in the snow in t-shirts might be looked at as lunatics, but for us it felt like summer had fallen upon us and life was good. It’s a strange necessity that exists in our need for winter so that we can sense spring. By June I won’t be able to feel my skin tingling in the sensation of warm sunlight or smell the freshness of the earth. It is only by winter that spring can come.
Isn’t it a paradox how the world works? There can hardly be a recognition of a thing without its opposite. I don’t notice the dimness in the room until I walk outside into the brilliant white snow. A CD sounds so good until I hear my favorite band play it live. We are humans learning our existences from these disparities that make up the world. Death can’t be properly understood without realizing the existence of life. Finding real love illuminates the selfish love that was the only thing known before. Grace cannot begin to be fathomed without knowledge of Law.
Soon spring will melt the snow away and my college campus will be green with grass and trees. That, too, will lose its meaning as stressful finals fill our thoughts. Summer will burst forth with its glaring heat and rolling winds that will carry into the crimson leaves of fall. Eventually winter will cover those withered leaves with crisp, white snow again. So one without the other is meaningless, and all together is a chorus of meaning and order to the world.
“Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence
Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance
Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence
Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.”
– Yoko Ono, Season of Glass