When it comes to spring, know your rites
The rite of spring. Is it a ritual (rite), or is it a right?
A rite is a form of ceremony or celebration. A rite leads to a new phase of life. Most people probably know the title of Igor Stravinsky’s ballet about spring. The French and Russian titles translate literally as The Coronation of Spring, but the English title is The Rite of Spring.
A right is something that is due to someone, and that is certainly true of spring. Spring is the payment for the debt of winter. Spring is not a choice, not an invitation. For Canadians, and particularly Eastern Canadians, it’s a given, a fait accompli, Mother Nature’s earned and non-negotiable right of passage. Winter could be considered a wrong by many, but spring is a right.
Spring is a sure thing; it’s guaranteed, but the timing isn’t always on track. It could be a late spring or early spring. It does arrive, finally, after winter’s end.
Winter’s end is a great tease. There’s often a game of cat and mouse between winter and spring. Winter slowly retreats, then sometimes temporarily reappears.
Even after relatively mild conditions this winter, the snow has been abundant, and spring is something we still look forward to.
The words and phrases associated with the word “spring” quickly emerge: Hope springs eternal. Spring is in the air. There’s a spring in your step. Spring has sprung. Spring forward. You can spring into action. You can spring to someone’s defense. The word spring can even be political, as in the Arab Spring (the eruption of anti-government protests throughout much of the Arab world in the early 2010s).
There’s even an illness associated with the season: spring fever. Of course, that’s an ailment that many don’t mind catching. The cure for this restless yearning is the emergence and reality of the season itself.
The phrase “spring cleaning” aptly conveys the nature and purpose of the season. You’re throwing out the old and preparing for a new and scrubbed way of life.
You’re also waking up, in many ways, to nature’s new landscape. As in the current and trendy word that is being employed in politics and societal culture, this is a “woke” landscape. This is eyes fully wide open.
Spring is the time to thaw out, to de-ice. Frozen is no longer the norm. White is passé. The operative words are now “warm” and “green”. Nature’s painting is now being filled in with colours and with textures. It’s truly a brand-new scene, rich, full, and blooming.
The nature of spring is promising and open. It is innocent and childlike. It is a birth, a re-birth. It is something to be explored and appreciated. It’s a change, but it is a much needed, wanted and welcomed change.
The frozen tears of winter are melting, running down and disappearing into the soft earth. The old man of winter thus ushers in spring. It’s all part of the mysterious, age-old mechanism that governs our natural world, a relationship to be respected and honoured.
Spring is the metaphorical warm pond you dive into emerging refreshed, clean, and somewhat changed. It’s nature’s version of baptizing, with no strings attached. Admission is free, and all are welcome. It’s all-inclusive. Spring is the original spa.
Spring is part of nature’s unwritten constitution. It’s not an amendment, adjusted over the years. It’s an original. On your journey toward this much-needed season, bask in your rights to take part in the rites of spring.