“Walk lightly in the spring; Mother Earth is pregnant.” – Kiowa proverb
As I write this, I’m looking out my window on a drab and dirty landscape. The trees are bare, the cold mud cracks with ice, and the last dregs of snow are thick with gravel. And yet–stand for a moment and turn your face to the sun, and warmth will spill straight through you, right down to your toes. A promise. An expectation, like the first stirrings of secret life within a womb.

Here in Winnipeg, winter comes hard and long, and the bitterness of February feels like it might just last forever. But the joy of the seasons is that it can’t. Soon enough, the green and growing things of the world will return.

I stumbled on this Kiowa proverb recently and fell in love with the imagery. It reminds me of gardening with my mom, of creeping through the early beds, and carefully, almost tenderly, clearing away the dead, decaying foliage. And there, peeking beneath the old, we’d find a tiny sign of life, a spike of green, a soft nub.

But not always. Sometimes, when the old was stripped away, there was only patient dirt. What then? Had the winter been too harsh? Had something trampled it? The unknown brought doubt and worry, and while I would like to say it was always unmerited, that wouldn’t be true. The tragedy of this world is that too often, vulnerable things get stamped out. I remember how my old dog, Hawker, would often tear through the garden in a fit of squirrel-madness. Promising shoots got snapped off, tender plants were crushed, little worlds of beauty were ended before their time. We’d have to salvage what we could, often in frustration.

And yet, despite these catastrophes, the garden lived on. Under my mom’s stewardship, it was always beautiful. It was always full and fertile. And sometimes, those bare spots of dirt would burst with life, or that trampled lily would re-emerge with promising new shoots.

Life takes time: young ideas, fresh starts, hopes and expectations. Walk lightly, tend the earth, water it, and watch it grow, and who knows what will flower in its season.