"If you walk along here," he said, tracing the tip of his pen along the shoreline, "you should be able to see the seals lying out on the sandbar. And here," the pen stopped, "there's a little shack people have assembled over the years. We always point it out, but some recent guests told us that it's pretty dilapidated from the storms this winter."
A few minutes later, we were walking on the beach. A chestnut Newfoundland lumbered past us with his owner. The dog stopped beside me and stood still while I ran my fingers through his thick tangles, and then he quietly dropped to the sand at my feet. "Therapy dog," the man explained with a smile. "Apparently he thinks I might be talking for a while."
The wind was brisk and moist, and I pulled my coat tight around my throat. Fog hung heavy over the water. We wouldn't be seeing any seals.
We did, however, find the shack. I found it to be a perfect picture of New England at the end of another long winter. A bit bedraggled, part of the fence leaning more like a ramp than a barrier, but still standing in all its quirky glory, defiantly (or desperately) waiting for the return of the summer sun. It made me chuckle.
We're biding our time here with a reluctant spring. It's always this way. It comes in fits and starts, sweet talking us with sunshine and the promise of warmer days, then sending me, resigned, back to my pile of thick winter sweaters. It will bud and blossom into a seductive New England summer at some point - and then we'll remember why we love it here.
I love the surety of the shifting seasons. It may be cold today and threatening snow, but I know that one of these days spring will tighten its grip and life will return. Green buds will film on the skeletal branches of our neighbor's towering maple. Bees will dance over tiny white flowers on the hedge along my walk into town. I will throw open the windows to the warm breeze, and I will move my office outside to the small glass-topped table on the porch. We'll all finally stumble out of our hibernation into lines at the ice cream stand and a bonfire on the beach. It will come.
In the beginning of this Easter season, I'm reminded of the surety of another life dawning. I am sure of the resurrection spring will bring. I am also sure of the resurrection God will bring when He restores all things, when He finally and ultimately makes all things new. Jesus' resurrection from the dead two millennia ago was simply the first fruit, the first budding, the first shimmering warmth of a New Creation. And, as much as I love a New England summer, it's this promise of Life I long for the most.
Happy Friday, my friends. And Happy Easter.