Spring is often seen as a symbol of rebirth. In fact, when thinking about spring, you might think about buds on trees, crocuses poking out of the ground, and robin's eggs. When I think about spring, I have an old-timey cartoon playing in my head where the camera is panning from left to right as we see a farm complete with a crowing rooster, a mommy bird feeding her baby a worm, a farmer sitting up in bed with a nightcap on his head as he stretches his arms wide while yawning, and the morning sun shining brightly into his open window where the curtains are blowing in the breeze. Can you picture it too? A little something like this...
The soundtrack for spring for me is Rossini's "Morning Song." Does my characterization, this imagery, and this music match what comes to mind when you think about spring--this glorious picture of opportunity and renewal?
I've been thinking about this over the past month or so as I knew the first day of spring was approaching. What I've noticed is spring, or at least the beginning of it, is actually not at all like I imagine it in my head. In my head, it is pristine and warm--like a hug after a long day or a fluffy towel right out of the dryer. In reality, spring starts out as wet and muddy. It's overcast skies and dingy colors. It's snow and rain and sun but in unpredictable patterns of yo-yo temperatures. All of this is to say rebirth, at first, is one step forward, two steps back. Here are some photos I've taken over the past few weeks to support my point. Look at the weather report… There was a Winter Weather Advisory just days before temperatures were in the 50s and 60s. That’s spring.
We are not just experiencing rebirth according to the tilt of the earth towards the sun, we are experiencing rebirth regarding coming out of the pandemic. This is a season of our lives when we are emerging from the frosty experiences of shutdowns and stuttered starts with relapses regarding positivity rates. It was just two months ago following the Winter Break, that we had the highest rates of positivity in our district (state and country) than we saw throughout the entire pandemic. Days of double-digit numbers of people who were testing positive and needing to stay home. Around the country, schools were shut down as a result of not having enough teachers or bus drivers.
I remember over the summer we were allowed to take our masks off during meetings. We felt liberated and hopeful. We looked at the upcoming school year and thought we would finally be able to get back to normal. Then, the students came back in the fall and we had to mask up again. The students’ behaviors were unlike anything we expected. Students were disengaged and dismayed. They had gone from intermittent learning in smaller settings to “normal” daily learning with kids they hadn’t seen in over a year. Though the pace was “normal,” the response to normalcy was not. That is what rebirth is. One. Step. Forward. Two steps back.
I don’t want you to read this and think I am being pessimistic. That’s not my goal. I’m being realistic. Spring is beautiful and, when you live in Western New York, feels like it’s been a long-time coming. Even so, the beginning of spring is not just sun and budding trees. It’s Winter Weather Advisories one day and 60-degree weather the next. It’s rain in the morning, sun in the afternoon, and snow at night. This is not a reason for discouragement; this is the reality of the process. Forgetting the pattern or getting mad at it does not make it go away. That’s the bad news. The good news, however, is that without fail, summer always comes.
P.S. My Catch of the Week this week is the book No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work by Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy. The book is filled not only with really practical insight and advice, but also really funny and relatable images to support the text. Check out Liz and Mollie's website which has free assessments and resources related to the book and the video below to hear more about the book!