Tomorrow Is the Day

Tomorrow marks the vernal equinox, the official terminology for the first day of Spring. Strangely enough, the forecast here in the D.C. area is calling for snow. Figures, doesn't it? The weather never seems to pay much attention to the calendar. It does what it does. Just ask our beautiful cherry blossoms. Hundreds of thousands of camera-toting visitors travel here each Spring hoping to catch the glory of four thousand cherry trees in spectacular bloom. The problem is, of course, the brief peak of the cherry blossoms can vary by as much as six weeks year by year, depending on all the variable weather conditions. The park service gives daily updates as the time approaches and the dates narrow down until finally someone says, "Tomorrow is the day." Hard to plan your itinerary around that kind of process, isn't it? Such is springtime. Such is life.

On the vernal equinox, day and night get equal time, dividing the day even-steven between light and darkness. Seems fair to me. Nobody gets short-changed and no one gets special treatment. Equal parts daytime and nighttime for everybody. Perfect balance, at least for one day in March and one more in September. If only life was as fair and equitable as the equinox.

Sometimes life feels like warm summer days under a clear blue sky. Carefree days running barefoot in the grass, napping in a shady hammock, sipping margaritas on the beach. All is well. Stress is low. Life is a song. But, of course, that's not the whole story.

When the darkness closes in, when we can't see our hand in front of our face, when the cold creeps in and stays, when just getting around becomes treacherous, we dread the dark nights that never seem to end. Living in darkness, the long night of hardship and loss, grief and despair, like we were born under a cloud.

And why do some people get all the sunshine and other people all the storms? Why do some folks seem to skate through life with a tailwind of good fortune, while other folks, just as deserving, struggle against every kind of obstacle and heartbreak, never getting a break. Life is a closed door. That's the real puzzler, the inequity of it all. Sunshine and daisies for some, darkness and shadows for others, with no choice in the matter.

Two days of the year it's even up, a level playing field, a fair game, light and darkness for a moment in equilibrium. The rest of the year is a mixed blessing, more or less of what we long for, more or less of what we dread.

Like many of you, I have family and friends who have lived in Florida and other warm weather climates. I guess it would be great to enjoy an endless summer with none of the worries of a cold, dark winter, only the occasional hurricane. All things being equal we would probably all choose Daytona Beach over Duluth.

For me, I've always enjoyed the change of seasons. Sure, I get tired of winter and could do without February. And, I get sick of summer and could do without August as well. But Spring is that much brighter and Autumn is that much more colorful after the long, bothersome wait.

Maybe the seasons of nature are trying to tell us something. Can we learn from the rhythm of life around us? What seems endless is not. All that seems constant will change. The things we take for granted are not permanent. And, our lives will be a blending of the seasons, a mixing of light and darkness, not in equal parts, or else we would all take on the same dull shade of gray. Much better that our own light and darkness should produce our own unique kaleidoscope of color, our own beautiful sunset at the end of our days.


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