After a happy, turbo-charged few months, I’ve found myself in a bit of a slump. I feel dull, out of profundities, and very in touch with mortality. A couple people in my orbit have died, I’ve heard bad health news from a few others, I miss my children, and, many days, I have the nagging feeling that I’m not making the most of whatever years I have left.

But there are still bits of magic, imagination, risk, bravery, and tenderness poking up through the mud, a lot like the crocuses I’ve been spotting lately.

On a call with a wonderful new client today, I read Jack Gilbert’s poem Horses at Midnight with a Moon, and this beautiful stanza:

Our spirit persists like a man struggling

through the frozen valley

who suddenly smells flowers

and realizes the snow is melting

out of sight on top of the mountain,

knows that spring has begun.

I love this—“the snow is melting/out of sight.” Sometimes we just trust the impulse of life, that it’s going on even when we can’t see it. Maybe we can only smell it.

When I pay attention, there are so many signs of spring, actual and metaphorical. Some scents that have wafted my way recently:

  • Laurel Braitman’s new book, What Looks Like Bravery, a gift from Emily who’s a friend of Laurel’s. This book blew me away and is yet another gift on my journey of reckoning with mortality. I know I’m attracted to stories of deep loss because I haven’t had my own yet (parent, child, spouse, good friend) and I always wonder, “Will I be able to survive it?” Laurel’s story and so many others say, “Yes. Yes.”
  • Getting to meet my friend Natasha in person. We’ve worked, laughed, and cried together over Zoom for two years, and we finally got to give one another a hug. Another reminder that there is nothing like embodiment.
  • Getting invited to go to Liberia next year to support my favorite non-profit, The Hope Project. I love this Liberian-run school and the way it tangibly improves the lives of 1300 students every day. The ED, Jackie, shared some photos with me that I’ll never forget. Adults of every age going to kindergarten night school. Wow. Talk about the impulse of life! I get to go visit next year and do some writing there, and I’m positive it will change my life.
  • News that my neighbor is pregnant!
  • Seeing my daughter’s off-season basketball team win 4 players against 15 in their game last night. They were deciding whether to forfeit or go for it. They played their hearts out, and it made me wonder, “When was the last time I did that?” So inspiring.

Wherever you are and whatever you’re facing, I hope your spirit is persisting, the snow is melting, and you suddenly smell flowers.