The gray chill of a mid-March Missouri afternoon. It hangs over the sluggish, brown fields and skeleton trees. Stray birds, returned early in anticipation of sun and warmth, strain to sing the spring out of its bashful reclusion. Trickles of rain-water cut divots in the soft, thawing earth, swelling creeks and streams, eager to nourish the almost-awakened trees and mosses and grasses.
But today, the gray vestiges of hibernation still linger, an unpleasant guest on an overstayed welcome. Today the earth waits. Its time has not yet come. But the burgeoning life within it cannot be suppressed long. The songs of the frogs and insects and the birds will recall this world to life, and the gray will dissipate into the glorious colors and smells of regenerate growth and virility.
On the threshold of this great awakening, we watch hopefully, eagerly. As though reflected in this physical change around us are harbingers of an impending renewal within ourselves. As though by osmosis we will absorb this fresh revitalization. Our hearts yearn to see the change. To see the passing of a season. To, perhaps in some sense, awaken a freshness within the confines of our individual humanity. To reignite zest and passion. To escape the routine. To catch the faintest taste of something intangible. To see that in the predictable, clinical confines of our technologically-bound lives, there still is a dusting of magic in the bosom of the earth. A clean, unencumbered hope that no gadget, invention, possession or luxury can imitate. The smell of budding trees, the feel of a newly warmed breeze, the sound of crickets in the evening grass. These are the things that inspire. And these are the things for which we long in the gray chill of a mid-March afternoon.