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Harbingers of Spring


Everyone, whether they realize it or not, has a harbinger of spring, a sign that new life, fresh beginnings, warmer weather ... is just around the corner.

Do you remember Frog and Toad? While they were not my sister's favorite series, I simply adored them. And one of my all time favorite stories of Frog and Toad was, "The Corner." Indulge me for a moment ...

"I went around that corner, too," said Frog.

"What did you see?" asked Toad.

"I saw the sun coming out," said Frog. "I saw birds sitting and singing in a tree. I saw my mother and father working in their garden. I saw flowers in the garden."

"You found it!" cried Toad.

"Yes," said Frog. "I was very happy. I had found the corner that Spring was just around."

Corner's. I'm not exactly sure why I loved corners, I just did. Perhaps I somehow assimilated those curves with all things new and good, or perhaps with one of my Grandmother's favorites phrases, "When your situation looks the very darkest, my dear, just know that there is always sunshine around the corner." And you know what ... she was right. Very often when things were at their very bleakest, sunshine and blessing were truly very near.

How appropriate that we so often associate Spring with sunshine.

This afternoon, the sun is streaming through my windows. While the air is cool, the sun through those windows is deceivingly warm. This morning? We awoke to a snowy blanket covered earth. A corner. A harbinger.

It's mid-February, we're turning the corner as as we speak. According to the Farmer's Almanac, Groundhog Day and Candlemas Day (February 2) is the astronomical midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox—and a day that has a long tradition in weather folklore. Spring is on its way.

And while I luxuriated in the fluffy new fallen snow, I saw my own harbinger of new things to come ... of Spring. The red breasted robin. Although often seen in Northwest backyards in January and beyond, I haven't seen too many this year ... until today. And of course, the eye is drawn to that brilliant red breast juxtaposed against the white, white snow. And while he was looking for berries or worms, I looked to the sky and said a word of thanks for the beauty of the seasons, the corners to come, and all the blessings of new and unexpected pleasures on the horizon.

Harbinger of Spring

who is this harbinger of spring?
and what new message does this bring?
i'm listening as the birds sing,
and to their mates fine seeds they bring.
now spring's not due for many days,
but buds and birds move 'bout their ways,
of welcoming spring with their praise,
with courting, budding, and displays ...

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