Finding renewal in spring, and in our spirits

Posted: March 22, 2015 at 5:44 am


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Published: Saturday, 3/21/2015 - Updated: 15 hours ago COMMENTARY

TK BARGER BLADE RELIGION EDITOR

Friday was the first day of spring, with the vernal equinox marking the point when day and night are the same length. Thats the scientific start of the season, but some people look to the birds to know that its spring.

Weve been taught that robins are a mystical harbinger of better weather, because why would the birds be here if it were going to snow again or the temperature were likely to stay below freezing?

The robin escorting the new season in isnt so straightforward, though. Story and tradition dont hew so closely to science and nature.

Some robins dont migrate. In a field guide to birds you might see a map showing that northwest Ohio is year-round territory for the American robin. If the food is not covered by too much snow, robins will be here.

There are times Ive been discouraged seeing robins around and the weather not cooperating, and thinking that some human snowbirds who spend the winter in Florida are better indicators.

Even so, look to the robin. Theres some comfort in seeing the familiar red breast, the bird pulling worms from your yard, maybe, or hearing its brief song. The robin might indicate the promise of spring, but it doesnt actually usher it in.

The robins that stay through the winter demonstrate that there are complicating factors getting in the way of predicting how the world and our lives will go.

Its the same for spirituality for most of us. Being religious, or spiritual but not religious if you prefer that phrasing, is not always transcendent in the way we might like. The positive mysticism might be missing.

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Finding renewal in spring, and in our spirits

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March 22nd, 2015 at 5:44 am