Melt, Reveal, Build

I hate spring.

It’s a brown, half-melted time of year, when the ice holding things in place is just beginning to thaw, dripping, dripping into soaked soil, rotting wood, as houses and people bound together by the cold start to sag apart.

To separate, like curdled milk.

I don’t like spring largely because spring makes me think about things I don’t like thinking about — life goals and world problems and loneliness, and the way we’re not measuring up to the standards we set for ourselves.

Spring is when your rain gutters, pried away from the roof by the ice, freezing and expanding, finally need replacing. They were smoothed over with snow, but now they just look tired, bent out of shape. You’re not sure you can bend them back to order.

Politics in our country are at a standstill right now, and no one is happy, no matter your party or position. The way we move forward will determine who we’ll be, as people, in the next few years.

But spring is the time of year when optimism feels like lying — when the voice that says it’ll never get better than this seems the deepest, the surest, the most confident.

I think it is lying, though.

It’s sort of a gamble, really — none of us are fortune tellers. But the weather will keep warming until crops begin to grow and trees unfurl their tiny wrinkled leaves — and optimism isn’t blindness, it’s hope for the future.

We’ll put our hands into the wet soil and let seedlings take root. New rain gutters, and fresh-oiled hinges; drying dust cleared out of the corners of the porch.

And the things that spring reveals — the ugly, jagged vulnerabilities that looked so gentle under the snow — we can heal those, too. We have the tools.

The ingredients for curdled milk also make smoothies.

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