By Ian Anderson
My six year old boy is famous in our house for his great ability to anticipate what’s next: the next game, the next show, the next event. He looks to what’s to come, and even though it’s not healthy to live in a constant state of anticipation, I’ve recently learned some things from him and from the changing seasons.
Spring is the season of great anticipation after all. The ground finally softens, and new, thin branches turn colors so we know the sap has begun to move. Light increases and moves north. Birds return. The promise of sweet, warm air prepares its arrival — if only in our minds.
In his poem “To The Thawing Wind” Robert Frost writes:
“Come with rain, O loud Southwester!
Bring the singer, bring the nester;
Give the buried flower a dream;
Make the settled snowbank steam;
Find the brown beneath the white…”
Now, when the chills still threaten, I say those lines with him and look forward to the thaw.
And I watch my little boy play in the warming air, and I know his heart. He is a bundle of energy, and he prepares himself for what he can’t yet see. He hopes and waits. What I can’t seem to shake lately, however, is all the times I’ve failed him, all the times I should have taken joy in his presence and instead sought my own rest or agenda. I can’t help but imagine how sorry I’ll be if I don’t change something. But what?
Then, just like the subtle tilt of the earth, I know it: I have to anticipate giving to him, I have to imagine how I’ll set aside what I want for what he needs. And it’s true for my whole family, too. I wait for the trees to bud, and I see in my mind’s eye how they unfold and produce their fruit. So I should wait and see the moments to come with my sons, with my wife. I must hope and wait. That way, when the season is right, I’m there to reap a harvest.
Ian Anderson is a teacher, a husband, and a dad. He lives with his family in Central Kansas. Occasionally, he tweets here: @ian_writes.