Because I heat my house with wood (lots of work) and a myriad of other reasons, I think of hard core winter as the big three, the months of December, January and February. I spend much of October unwinding from summer with garden chores, leaves to gather, and usually a fall colors trip down the Manistee. I did not get that colors trip in last Fall. Perhaps that is why this winter has been more disconcerting than most.
This weekend is the Quiet Water Symposium at Michigan State University. Will see some old friends, perhaps make new. Regardless it is a symbolic representation of the end of the big three. Hope and warmth spring eternal as I see new gear, hear about new places, and new ways of doing the ancient art of paddling or packing and living out of doors. March and April were the birth months of my biological children. The newness of life and the celebration of who they have become give me pause to celebrate and recognize life transitions.
I visited with my Dad today. He will be 85 in December and I wondered how my life will go from now until I am 85. I have slightly less than 20 years until then. I started my relationship with my wife 20 years ago and it seems the life we have made together was time that was rich and full of growth.
While it may seem long and filled with opportunity, the remainder of my life is very finite. I will only experience the changes of Fall and the big three through so many cycles. The sounds of the peepers in spring and that first trill of a Red Winged Blackbird calling the warmth will fall upon my ears just so many times. I feel eternally grateful for these experiences every time they pass through my life experience.
I love March, but this March seems particularly poignant. The remaining chill, the hope of warmth, the sounds of the peepers and the returning birds fill my being with thankfulness for the day. Enjoy Spring.