This winter has felt long

This winter has felt long

A Menno Minute

by Jeff Schellenberg

This winter felt long. I suppose by March or so they all tend to start feeling long. But this year that late winter bleakness was only reinforced by the sadness of Covid-19. It’s not often that something has the kind of reach across countries, races, religions, classes, and ideologies that Covid has had. If only it were a happier event that highlighted our commonality and reminded us that we really do all share this small planet and have a stake in each other’s welfare.

 So while there has been joy and stories of inspiration, this past month or so has had far too much worry, anxiety, and sadness for those who have lost so much. On top of that came the tragic news out of Nova Scotia, and it felt like winter truly might never end.

And then the most unexpected thing happened. Also the most predictable. Spring. I know it’s coming every year yet somehow it always manages to feel like the most amazing surprise. The air warms, earth appears from under snow, birds return, water flows, green shoots tentatively emerge. Life. And hope. This most predictable and unexpected happening feels like the Creator’s promise that we are not alone, that things will get better. That there is life and – always - hope.


If ever there were a spring day so perfect,

So uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze


That it made you want to throw

open all the windows in the house


and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,

indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,


a day when the cool brick paths

and the garden bursting with peonies


seemed so etched in sunlight

that you felt like taking


a hammer to the glass paperweight

on the living room end table,


releasing the inhabitants

from their snow-covered cottage


so they could walk out,

holding hands and squinting


into this larger dome of blue and white,

well, today is just that kind of day

  -Billy Collins