As the lingering winter eases off …

The snow lingers. Will this winter ever end?

This year Mother Nature took a swipe at global warming by sending us a blast from the past. Winter wrapped around us with an intensity that shouted: “Not so soon, I’m still around.”

Over time what first appeared to be a winter wonderland became a white shroud enveloping nature and our souls in a suffocating embrace that seemed endless. The lucky ones fled to warmer climes while the rest endured.

Winter is the “make the best of it” season. It reminds us of mortality, the time when things die and are buried. The elderly are particularly affected; they see it as the final season – the end.

Going to Florida for the winter is an understandable form of denial. There have been a few times this winter when denial looked good to me.

Spring is the season of hope and rebirth. It is youth, vitality, curiosity, and energy; a time to look ahead. It is a precursor of salvation for those who did not survive the winter and longed for an eternal spring.

Spring is a promise. It is the young season, full of children, laughter, and love. Winter is a debt that all must eventually honor, the price we pay for spring.

As harsh as it sometimes is, those who annually face winter’s rigors at least have the opportunity to confront a reality that others seek to escape. Winter will come in one form or another; better prepare for it. The seasons are locked in our DNA; there is no escape.

I am now in the early winter of my life. The trees are bare, the wind cool, and gray days appear more often. I had a grand spring, summer, and fall. The love, laughter, and joy I shared still warms the winter nights when the wind howls and the snow flies.

Spring is the first season; it begins the cycle. Its youth blends seamlessly into the warmth of summer when it matures into adulthood, marriage, and children. Fall is the season of middle age, maturity, and perspective. Winter is wisdom, infirmity, and resignation.

The older we get, the more we look forward to another spring. Having survived another winter, we begin the cycle anew although spring, summer, and fall appear to be getting shorter and winter longer.

I suspect more people die in the winter than at other times of the year. Winter is a clock winding down; the tempo slows, the chimes grow faint, time slips by reluctant to surrender its remaining minutes. Finally it stops.

Will the final winter open into a glorious spring? That is the hope of many, but there is only one way to find out. When, with a final gust, the flame is extinguished, does the sun rise on a new dawn? I’ll take that bet. After all, what have I got to lose?

Maybe the seasons are trying to tell us something.

James W. Dolan is a retired Dorchester District Court judge who now practices law.