Spring does that. It comes both in fast waves and unhurried measure.
That lilac bush I mentioned last week seemed to move from having totally brown buds to solid green ones from one day to the next: a sudden unfolding.
The beige-green buds on the pear tree, though – those will take their time over weeks: the slow unfolding.
Sunshine, higher temperatures, longer daylight, robins’ songs, nests, the return of the violet green swallows, faster-growing grass: these, too, will unfold in different rhythms.
I am grateful to Spring. That she should entice us with the rapid transitions - eye-popping changes that provide instant gratification for the vernal seeker - makes sense to me. We are given just the buoying from nature that we need after a long, dark, cold winter. Why not receive an infusion of immediate balm! It’s a promise of a greener world, the first notes that will become a choir of avian and faunal voices.
I am also grateful to Spring for her patience and drawn-out unfurling. This stretches out the glorious acts of new life becoming, emphasizing miracle after beautiful miracle of twig to bud to flower to leaf to tree crown to forest canopy. We can witness the individual species, honoring each as they leaf out or fly over or construct a haven for their young in the unique temporal landscape of their kind.
Last year I recall checking at least thrice daily over a number of days to catch the actual moment when the lilies I planted would release the bright red or burnt orange or golden yellow tip of a petal from the tightly spun bud. I did not care to take measurements of the aperture through which the lily would be ultimately revealed so that I could quantify this blossoming. I just wanted to spy the movement: one sliver of rainbow color sliding out of the green sheath through a slit I could scarcely perceive.
If, like time-lapse photography, springtime were to evolve in a more punctuated way, we would miss the repeated opportunities to bear witness to this mystery. Imagine a technicolor explosion of leafed out bloomfulness! All of that savoring day by day would be lost if the gift landed one day in full completion.
We are meant to appreciate. We are meant to enjoy. We are meant to watch and wait - the hope rising from some obscure darkness within until it becomes palpable - for the entire universe of growing things to appear again. Year after year, season by season.
It is the transition that is to be cherished. And how fitting, for life is a series of fluctuations and movements (not the fixed thing we sometimes imagine).
So, I keep my eyes open, darting out into the fresh still-cold morning air so that I might see a tiny new shift in the world of this springtime landscape.
Many blessings to you and yours for the vernal equinox that is upon us!