"And every winter change to spring."
Throughout Nature the large is ever mirrored in the small, and the cycle of the seasons is a manifestation in miniature of the greater cycles—human life, race existence, and even the cosmos itself. Directly the winter solstice is passed our thoughts fly forward to the spring, across the intervening weeks of cold and dreariness we gaze with keen anticipation, and already in imagination hear the thrush’s song beneath the apple blossoms.
Every month has its key-note; in our latitude that of January is dreaming, for the earth’s slumber though still deep, is becoming lighter each day. When towards the close of the month, snowdrops—fragile yet brave—emerge into the pale wintry sunshine, our hearts rejoice for we know that the waking time is drawing near.
February’s key-note is preparation: there is little to show as yet, but much invisible activity is in progress, and any day we may feel that indescribable thrill of spring in the air which proclaims that though east wind and sleet may yet hold many a revel, they are playing a losing game.
With March comes an ever increasing manifestation of life, and its key-note is advance. Daffodils, violets, the delicate beauty of almond blossom outlined against the deep blue of a wind-swept sky—how we welcome these "lovely messengers" of hope and gladness. Instinctively we recognize the strong and subtle links which unite us to the realm of Nature, for has not human existence also its seasons of renewal and unfoldment? Indeed is not life in its entirety the rebirth of the individualized spirit into the domain of matter?
Here, too, we find the three stages indicated above. All manifestation on the objective plane must be preceded by the dream—the thought image; then follows the time of preparation, training, testing, silent and solitary effort, and lastly the advance into larger experiences and activities.
In this connection we cannot fail to recognize how many lives never reach this third stage. Handicapped from the start, hampered by circumstances, or prematurely ended, the achievements of which they were capable remain, like unopened buds among the things which "might have been."
But this fact affords no reason for dismay or pessimism. In the painter’s studio we see the rough sketch or unfinished study as isolated fragments, but the artist knows their relation to that completed picture whose vision fills his days and haunts his dreams.
As the imperfect and interrupted cadences in music stimulate the ear to listen for what follows, does not every broken or unfulfilled career urge, nay compel, our confidence in that Great Future where all earth's questions will find a complete and satisfying answer. For as Browning reminds us, on the plane of human life Time is transcended
"What's time? Leave Now for dogs and apes.
Man has Forever."
Surely this widening of our horizon heartens labor and assuages grief, since all true work and brave endurance may be regarded as preparation for future activities.
And when the call to advance out of physical limitations sounds for us, shall we not find in that larger life such a glorious renewal of sundered ties and shattered hopes as will surpass our utmost thoughts and dreams.