Hope. Hope is why this time of year is my favorite. The season straddles the line between winter and spring. None of the flowers are in bloom. In fact, at this moment, there’s not much to see at all. It’s what’s unseen that makes me hold my breath in awe.
There’s a bright chill in the air as I walk my dog down the gently curving path between the trees. It’s early morning, and the half frozen ground crunches under every step. My breath puffs silently in front of me. The snow has receded revealing black soil and twisted, gray-brown leaves on each side of the path. The bare tree limbs catch the rays of the morning sun. The tips of those branches only begin to blush with the suggestion of buds.
It’s not colorful. It’s cold, uninviting, and decidedly un-springlike. Frost clings tightly to the edges of every dead leaf and puddle. Every stubborn dagger of ice and stab of cold air feels like winter digging in its claw-like fingernails, refusing to let go.
And yet… hope is everywhere.
In the dark fresh soil, a flash of green appears. And there, breaking through the layers of brown decay, are tiny frosty fingers of new life. In defiance of the cold, they seem undaunted by the deadly frost.
Those small hints of new life give me hope. They tell me that the life that was stolen away with the coming of winter was never truly lost. Life changed. It transformed in a circular fashion into something unseen, but it was never really gone. It waited, just underneath the surface. And now, as light slowly reemerges into the world, it reveals that everything I loved is now being made new.
I believe this is also true of those we have lost. The people we have loved are not gone. Life changes. It transforms. And now, just beyond the veil, those bright souls wait for us. One day, that love will also be renewed.
Love is never lost. It cannot be destroyed, and it is never forgotten. In the words of Bahá’u’lláh, “…the Kingdom of God is sanctified from time and place; it is another world and another universe. And know thou for a certainty that in the divine worlds the spiritual beloved ones will recognize each other, and will seek union with each other, but a spiritual union. Likewise a love that one may have entertained for anyone will not be forgotten in the world of the Kingdom, nor wilt thou forget there the life thou hadst in the material world.”
For now, as I follow the path through the silent trees, I soak in the warm light that tells me, despite all appearances, that spring is coming. I look with reverence at every shoot of green. Each one is a declaration that winter and death were not the end. They were, in fact, only the beginning of something glorious.
My favorite season is the season of hope.