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March 16, 2004
Snow now? Ah, well. It happens.

But what about the daffodils, which are now six inches tall and, some of them, in bud? And the crocuses, which are in bloom? And what about the miniature roses? I just took away their blanket of evergreens, noting with satisfaction the tiny new red shoots of growth on their slender canes. What about the poppies and primroses, which are well underway? And all the irises and tulips?

They'll be fine. Might even bloom a little longer, later on, for the chilling experience. Their lives factor in the possibility of a snowfall at just this moment of the year. Most of us benefit from slowing down a bit.

And the birds will be all right, too, even the hummingbirds, who are said to be on their way back north. I wouldn't know, of course: they never stop in my garden. But I am thinking of putting out a feeder in the snow, just in case.

We are really the only ones who complain. I must drive home at noon, and urgently want to arrive there quickly, heartily begrudging the extra driving time and inevitable traffic snarls the snow will bring. All of us are tired of our boots, and long for the lightweight shoes and jackets of spring. We have turned the page of winter, and we're done.

More than anything else, the seasons and our vulnerability to their comings and goings put us in mind of our creatureliness. More able than any other species to modulate the comfort of our immediate environment, we are not in control of the outdoors. It does what it does, and we are not consulted.

This is a needed corrective. Absolute power has never brought out the best in human beings. It would not be to our souls' health if we ran the weather. We do better if some things remain to which even we must bow. What you are learning when nature contravenes your plans is humility -- again. Just in case you were to forget.
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