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This is the most wonderful time of the year. I know what you are thinking. Really? Soggy yards, gray skies, and weather that even a groundhog could not predict. But, yes, this is truly the most wonderful time of the year.

Let me explain. Salty waters pool on the sides of the road and splash up onto your car. No matter how many times you visit the car wash, you just cannot keep your vehicle clean. You dress for winter and are pleasantly surprised by the warm day. So the next day, you dress for warm weather and are swiftly corrected by bitterly cold winds. You just cannot win.

But what you fail to notice is on the bare branches of the trees around you. As you slosh through damp grounds that your feet sink into, you fail to think about something deeper, literally. Just under the surface of the ground is a beautiful thing. It is new life. On the branches of the trees, if you look very closely, you’ll see buds of blossoms. They are unhatched. They are waiting. And similarly to the new life under the ground, they are a symbol of hope.

Despite the hard frosts and the cold winds and the 50 shades of gray skies, these unnoticed seeds sit and wait. It will not be long before they begin to peep up from the ground. Soon after, they will blossom and come to fruition. And whether or not you enjoy gardening or have pollen allergies, the world collectively hold its breath and waits. Because these are not just plants. They are not just decorative greenery. These are symbols of hope. Because if a small seed can last the winter, so can we. And if a seed that has gone through such frosts can blossom, so can we. And when this flower sprouts up from the dirt, we will know without doubt that warmer, brighter days are on the horizon.

So look at the bare trees. Look at the browned grass. See beyond the gray skies. For there are golden sun rays in our future. And with this in mind, we continue. Just as the seeds and buds sit and wait patiently, we too wait with a seed of hope in our hearts. A seed that is small but strong. No matter how bleak or drawn out this winter’s end is, spring waits knowingly just around the corner. And so do we.

– Bailey Pace, HashtagWV #87. March 2017.

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HashtagWV Art & Entertainment is a high-quality print and digital multimedia platform for all things West Virginia and the greater Appalachian region. The editorial focus is local music, unique shopping, the arts, events, theatre, and food and drinks.