Though lovely at times, it has been a brutal winter here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where I live. Record-breaking snowstorms, high winds, and relentless rain have brought down trees and other unstable structures, reminding us once again that we are always at the mercy of nature and that everything is impermanent. The memory of winter, however, is now in its own demise, as April unfolds, "breeding lilacs out of dead land, mixing memory with desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain." (T. S. Eliot, "The Waste Land")
It is a time for revival and regeneration, a time for taking new bearings and plotting the course for new growth, a time for answering the questions raised by the poet Mary Oliver after watching a swan stretch its wings and soar:
"And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?"
Mary Oliver, "The Swan"