Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Hope of Spring in Her Spirit

th“Forsythia is pure joy. There is not an ounce, not a glimmer of sadness or even knowledge in forsythia. Pure, undiluted, untouched joy.”

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, BRING ME A UNICORN, p. 138

It’s been too many years since I’ve lived in a climate that supported forsythia. We don’t have them in Southern California. But I remember them in New Jersey, where they lined the highways in a blast of yellow in the spring, and I remember them before that, in Missouri where I grew up.

We had a forsythia bush in my backyard, down by the creek that flowed at the bottom of the property. As a child I didn’t try to learn the names of trees or bushes, but I absorbed many of them from hearing my parents talk. My mother always remarked about the forsythia when its yellow buds began to swell. “Oh, the forsythia’s almost out.” Or “Oh, the forsythia is out.” She would comment on the progress of the forsythia as she looked out the kitchen window while doing the dishes. I knew these simple statements meant something. She was on the lookout for spring. For some reason my parents never planted daffodils, so forsythia was the harbinger of spring at our house.

My mother must have loved forsythia. It meant that the long tedium of winter was over. She was a housewife with a husband and three children and a house to take care of, and one of her supreme joys was escaping it all to go shopping, or play bridge, or go to her garden club. Long cold winters and snow cramped her freedom. Spring also meant she could go back to hanging wash outside instead of in the basement, as she did when it was cold. She didn’t believe in using her dryer much.

I miss the miracle of spring. Living in a climate where flowers and trees bloom all year long is a lovely thing. But I miss the drama of the cycle of death and rebirth borne out in four seasons. Spring pushing up out of the bleak, harsh, dead of winter is hope epitomized. When you live in it, you feel indwelt by it somehow. After the long tedium of dull, cold winter you feel lighter, buoyed in optimism, warmed and reassured of renewal deep in the marrow of your bones.

One Easter Anne reflected that the signs of spring are the Resurrection made visible: a reminder that no matter what, there is love and beauty and goodness and spirit in the world.

Not an ounce…of sadness or even knowledge in forsythia… Yellow clouds of forsythia blossoms rest lightly on their slender branches, bursting in color against the grass beginning to green again, unaware of it own importance–what it means to a world dormant in gray.

(Excerpt from Gifts from the Spirit: Reflections on the Diaries and Letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 2002, 2014, copyright Kim Jocelyn Dickson)