They have been shut tight and locked down for so long, that it somehow seems as if the barriers could never be lifted again. Like rusted nuts at the end of an old steel bolt left out in the yard. Seized up and bound tight. Yet the other day, as the temperatures finally began their slow and intentional crawl from the whites and blues to the reds and oranges, after a lasting season of ever-present darkness and chill, I pushed the locks open and those frames slid up with a satisfied sigh. Finally, after holing up in my den for what felt like an unnaturally lengthy spell, I could once again invite the outside in. I could air out the rooms and feel that warm, healing breeze blow across my face. After all of these years, it's amazing how this seemingly simple and benign exercise helps to drive away the shadows and brings back life and hope and promise.
I wonder if I lived in a tropical environment, where it was warm and sunny and green all year long, where there was no need for a regular, forced separation between nature's domain and ours, would I lose my appreciation of the approach of spring? Would I become hardened and jaded and unappreciative, taking it all for granted? ... Likely yes, for that is the way of human nature. But, oh would I like to give it a try!