“When [Aslan] shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.” ~ C.S. Lewis
I miss spring living here in southern California.
We don’t experience spring here in the way other places do. A few trees put out new leaves—but most have been green all winter long. A few more flowers bloom—but we had roses in October and camellias in January, so they don’t seem too special. Sometimes the weather is lovely and sunny with a soft breeze, but other times it is August-scorching or cold and cloudy. We rarely have “spring showers.”
The “perpetual spring” of California’s clime no doubt attracts many of its residents. But there is something I feel it lacks…for how can you appreciate spring when you have it all year long?
When my family lived in New Mexico for five years, we had spring. The frozen silence of brown fields and barren trees exploded to life with pink and snowy cloudbursts of blossom on the peach, apple, and apricot trees, with green frosting on alfalfa fields, pastures, and Navajo willow trees, with robins returning and tulips thrusting through the thawing earth. Baby goats bleated in the barnyard while new kittens squeaked from a box in the bathroom.
When I spent a college semester in Oxford, England, we had spring. Daffodils trumpeted Easter tidings in medieval graveyards of ancient stone churches (see photo above). Crocuses and snowdrops enraptured me…I had only met them before in books like The Secret Garden. Here they lifted purple cups and snowy bells in the farmer’s market, beside the English Faculty Library, through the grounds of Hampton Court Palace, and in neat squares of English gardens. I sang with the birds as I walked from our little row house to college, market, or library, thrilling to the message of Christ’s triumph over death preached so eloquently through His creation. No wonder C.S. Lewis wrote of Narnia turning to spring at Aslan’s approach.
And so, back “home” in California, I miss spring. Yet I am learning to remember that God created this climate, too. And while I may not feel the impact of spring here as in the other “home-places” of my heart, He is teaching me to appreciate the blessings of this place as well. The nearly year-round sunshine gives my elderly grandmother many happy hours sitting in its warmth. Nearly year-round flowers mean we can nearly always pluck one or two to brighten the day of a sick friend or family member.
After all, spring—and Easter and resurrection—don’t really matter unless they happen in our hearts. And in my heart, the Creator of all these is patiently teaching me, like the tulips and crocuses and snowdrops I love, to bloom where He has planted me for now.