There is always that question to ask, about the weather, about myself…
What will today be like?
Will the windshield wipers push away more wintry mix?
Or rain? Sleet perhaps?
Will the sky be as blue as a robin egg,
full of hope and Spring promise?
Will the bluebirds be singing or shivering?
Will my viewfinder discover daffodils shoots or ice sculptures?
Will the wild wind snarl them into a wrinkled mess just before yanking out every clothespin?
And the answer could be yes to any/many of these questions on any/many days. March is like that.
(I pity the poor souls who make their livelihood in weather prognostication. It is not a career for the fainthearted. Not in central Pennsylvania. Not in March.)
March weather is best described as…
Changeable: variable, unsettled, unpredictable. Hour to hour, one end of the valley to another. (Last week it was snowing in our front yard, but not in the back.)
Volatile: apt to become suddenly violent and potentially dangerous, unpredictable. (Especially if you happen to get caught driving in it.)
Fickle: indecisive, inconsistent, unpredictable, vacillating, capricious. Changeable in mood, temper or desire. (The poor robins can't seem to decide if they should begin nest building or fly south!)
Erratic: not predictable, regular, or consistent, especially in being likely to depart from expected standards at any time. (Last year at this time, I had flowers blooming in my garden. Lots of them. And I have picture evidence.)
And suddenly I'm not talking about the weather anymore, at least not the weather outside my Hickory Lane window. I’m describing grief. Again. Still. Grief is the window pain through which I'm viewing my world these days, and I'm never sure what I'll see.
The weather of grief is ..changeable, volatile, fickle, erratic, and most of all, unpredictable.
Some days, memories parade past my window.
There is chaos in the chronology.
My hours of picture sorting in the room I've dubbed "The Museum" contribute to the anarchy.
The photos seem to have taken on a life of their own, calling to me, marching through my days and haunting my nights.
It is perhaps my own version of March Madness.
Two sunbrowned boys are frolicking wildly in the pool at Grandma's house...and, just a few feet to the right stands a child ready for Sunday school, and I remember wearing that dress...
The pictures are black and white. Or full color. Or sepia. They're clear. Vivid. Sharply focused. Or blurry.
Which could also be my eyes.
Mournful mix today, early tears, with a chance of late afternoon sobbing.
There are days when I gaze out the window of grief and there is only darkness.
I see nothing, I feel nothing.
I don't know if my emotional eyes are closed, or if there is a shutter closing off the view from the other direction.
I don't know why or how or who closed it or if it "should" be closed. I only know the quiet darkness.
Perhaps it is my soul's night and it is not the time for seeing.
Maybe it is a time for finding rest or at least a pause from the intensity of grief's seeing and feeling.
I don't know how long the darkness will last, or when it will return,
for grief work, grief weather is erratic.
Which is why March is a good month for grieving.
Relentlessly, life moves on and the neighbors prepare their fields for seeds but then it is snowing wildly again.
The robins are back, and the redwing blackbirds, and it doesn't seem possible that I will greet spring without my mother. I have never done that before, and there is nothing normal about it. Now the colors are all wrong or at least altered.
Oh dear, no one predicted heavy showers, but tears sweep the countryside. There is a chance the sun will break through later in the day…but don’t count on it. It is, after all, March. Not predictable.
But next weekend, March will end and my grief will continue. It will change of course, it already has, but I am under no illusion that turning a calendar page will bring an end to the unpredictability of my heart's weather. In fact, thoughts of balmy days, with blue skies and blooming flowers leave me feeling a little hesitant. What will it be like to grieve when everyone is feeling all happy happy about spring?
Whatever comes in this journey,
I know I can lean heavily on God's arm.
I can count on His promised Presence,
(Oh, this One is predictable in all the best ways)
I know He will be walking with me through each day,
each changeable, volatile, fickle, erratic March day.
And when April comes
and May and June…
His extravagant grace will be new for me each day,
whatever the weather may be on either side of my window pain.
So, I'll keep walking...