The temperature reached 60 yesterday cutting short the maple sugaring season. The snow retreats before the ascending sun. The earth reappears. It’s early yet – no doubt there will be more “weather” this month – but the days pronounce spring’s imminent arrival.

The return of spring renews the promise that below the surface of an apparently frozen landscape life’s energy continues to create its abundance. There is the assurance that we will surface from our winters of disappointment or arrested expectation. We are meant to be where we are – on track to resume our growth into the fullness of who we are becoming.

For me spring’s arrival is accompanied by the music of Aaron Copeland’s Appalachian Spring and the Shaker hymn on which it is based. Stretching from Maine to Georgia the Appalachians have provided the backbone for my life’s journey. On its shoulders Peggy and I have worked and played and launched our family. Its hills have schooled us in the lessons of self-sufficiency, community and interdependence. Now in our later years we return home to its gentle slopes and their essential truths.

For your meditation today I suggest you listen to Copeland’s composition reflecting on the return of spring in your own life and the message of the Shaker hymn.

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ‘tis the gift to be free.

‘Tis the gift to come round where we ought to be.

And when we find ourselves in the place just right

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.


When true simplicity is gained

To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed.

To turn, turn, will be our delight

Till by turning, turning, we come round right.