Many of us up there in the northern states were probably about to despair not long ago. When will the cold leave? Sure, the winter has its advantages, with snow that lights up the darkness, but some moderation in the winter and cold may well still be needed, I think even as a northerner.
Now it's here, spring. It raises our hopes — even here in California. El Nino swept over these latitudes with cold and storms, the first real winter I experienced since I arrived in autumn 2013.

We have heard the arrival of spring with our ears: I am thinking in particular of a spring bird — the mockingbird, masterful singer, who starts and plays at night, much like the nightingale does back home in Sweden.
We have seen the arrival of spring with our eyes: All the flowers blooming, the trees budding, especially the jacaranda trees with their beautiful, violet colors in bloom.
The days have become longer and brighter and warmer, we start dreaming of summer and time for recreation and travel. We tend and prune things in our gardens that are not yet bearing life to allow new life to arrive.
Many plants go dormant during the fierce cold frost, and so also do our lives. Winter has kept nature in a strong, hard grip. In a similar way, our prejudices and our own limitations can hinder and bind us. Spring is a time of transition and therefore also a time for reorientation — and maybe a new direction?
At the end of April on Walpurgis Night, Swedes seek out a bonfire. Fire has probably always fascinated humans. It rallies. It thaws the frozen and symbolizes how life returns to what has been sleeping during the winter. The fire devours the dead: twigs, decaying leaves and anything connected with the old.
The power of fire in the dying winter can remind us to dare to unleash the spring in our own lives. The fire of spring can challenge us to dare to face the new in all our contexts: in the family, among friends, colleagues, neighbors and in the world.

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I want to give you, the reader, a blessing, with words from Scotland:

God bless us in the spring time,
we rejoice over every green bud,
every hour of light, each vernal breeze.
God bless our rebirth.

Staffan Eklund
Kyrkoherde
Svenska kyrkan i Los Angeles och San Francisco
www.svenskkyrkan.se/losangeles