Here in the great state of Minnesota, we’ve had a late February snowstorm. Late February snow is not unusual, although the amount of snow – around 19 inches – is not typical.
When we first moved to Minnesota from Boston, someone said, “Boston gets more snow, but Minnesota snow doesn’t melt.” And in my driveway that looks true: the snow from November is still layered into this February snow. There has been so much snow this year, and very few days warm enough to melt it.
I like to shovel snow – I like to move outside, even in winter. But those piles at the side of my driveway feel high. Winter, I want to say, you have accumulated too much this year. The piles of snow feel too high and too heavy. And there’s more snow to come.
But yesterday, as I was raising the shovel to shoulder-level to move snow from the concrete to the yard, I caught sight of one of my favorite lilac bushes peeking out from the snow. Every year, that bush gets buried. Every February, there’s nothing that looks alive about it – the whole bush just looks like a pile of dead sticks.
And yet. Every May, that lilac bush offers us abundance, bursting out with flowers and the smells of spring. It catches me when I walk by – it catches the birds, it catches our friends, and it even catches the people delivering packages to our door. If any of us has forgotten that it is spring, the lilac reminds us.
It has been winter for a long time. And the November snow piled at the side of my driveway is likely to be joined by March snow. At some point this year, I may need to raise the shovel above my head to move snow from the driveway to the yard.
No thank you, I want to say. Spring now.
I can stand in my driveway shaking my shovel at the sky as much as I want – it isn’t spring now. This is Minnesota. It’s snow now. It’s winter now. It’s icy sidewalks now. It’s -10°F now.
But the lilacs catch me, even now. The snow will melt. Winter is not forever, even in Minnesota. Whether I wait patiently or impatiently, eventually, we will have spring.