New England Spring

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  • Although it barely feels like spring in New England at present, in honor of the First Day of Spring we bring you, in the midst of Lent, a taste of the promise of a glorious spring from the pen of Elisabeth Elliot . . . 

    Springtime in New England is unrecognizable most of the time. Year after year we look forward to it, long for it, and when March and April arrive feel we have a right to it. It gives us a little nod once in a while. The peepers, I have to admit, never fail us. No matter what else refuses to budge, those tiny frogs emerge from the mud and set up their tiny whistling, “whee, whee, whee, whee, whee,” a gleeful piccolo orchestra undaunted by the cold. Usually there will be a day or two, like last Saturday, when the sun comes up early and stays up and thaws things and actually makes the terrace warm enough to sit on. My mother-in-law from Palm Beach, who thinks anything below 74 degrees is arctic, sat in the sun on the chaise longue (pronounced “chase lounge” by most folks now, I notice) which Lars had dusted off and carried up from the basement. He proceeded to haul brush while I raked some millions of last fall’s beech and elm leaves. We soon had a glorious inferno going in the middle of the yard (yes, we had gotten a permit and as instructed had called the emergency number in advance to inform the city that the fire on Bay Road was on purpose). There is nothing quite so satisfying as a Saturday at home when you can clean house, bake, wash clothes and hang them outdoors and then spend the rest of the day raking and burning. Can anyone top that for real recreation – or should I say re-creation and fulfillment? Every morning I have studied the pussy willow outside my window, not wanting to miss the pussies this year as I have done in years past because I always look too late. Nothing is happening. A few tulips have begun, the lilac leaf buds are swelling just enough to be visible, but it’s cold. That’s the long and short of it. Much too cold to ride a bike without my down coat and fur hat and mittens. Can’t sit in the back yard this week. Next time we try it, however, if things go as they usually do here, it will be too hot. Oh, I do love New England. I wouldn’t leave for anything in the world.

    Excerpt originally published in the July/August 1983 Elisabeth Elliot Newsletter.