By Laura Mills 

    A tree stands just outside my bedroom window—it’s so close that when it has leaves, they actually press against the glass. One morning last week, while having a particularly difficult time getting out of bed, I happened to glance out the window and see tiny buds. With the weather having yet to consistently approach anything spring-ish, the sight surprised me; my first reaction was to think to the tree, “Put those away! The cold will kill them!”

    Weather each season can vary tremendously year to year, of course, but still nature always adheres to its pattern. No matter how cold and long the winter, spring and summer follow; no matter how glorious the sunshine and bounty of summer and autumn, eventually the atmosphere cools, leaves fall, harvest ends and winter returns. As the variations occur nature bides its time—the buds on my tree, for example, have already waited a long time for the end of this winter. Now, it seems, they have heard their cue to appear…as I look at them outside my window, I can almost hear my tree reply to me, “Relax. I know what I’m doing.”

    Pause the next time you are outside. Engage your senses…no matter how cold the day or still-snowy the landscape. You might see buds, too. You might smell something unidentifiable but undoubtedly fresh; you might just even hear the snowmelt seeping into the ground, or the first blades of grass pressing up through the earth. Nature’s great lesson to us is one of perseverance, I think—to hang in there and keep heart, no matter what, to never stop believing that dormancy can lead to growth.