ValueSpeak
A Weekly Column
By Joseph Walker

OPENING A WINDOW TO SPRING

Spring sort of comes and goes where I live.One minute itís balmy and warm and youíre driving around with your windows down and the breeze blowing in your face, and the next minute itís cold and blustery and youíre wondering where you put the snow shovel.

Today is one of those days when spring is both coming . . . and going.Itís bright and sunny out Ė but not really.Rather than the clear blue sky one normally associates with a spring day, a high, thin layer of clouds have given this spring day a murky pallor.The gentle breeze that is blowing is cool Ė almost too briskly to be considered ďgentle,Ē and almost too cool to be completely comfortable.The blossom-less branches of the apple tree outside my window bounce and bend almost menacingly Ė especially when the breeze blows into a full gust of wind.

It is spring, and yet it isnít.

Springy, that is.

The weather prognosticators on the radio insist that a storm is on its way.By the afternoon we will have rain, they say, and maybe a little snow.And it will be cold.Usually such a prediction means we will actually be sweltering in sun-bathed ecstasy this afternoon, but just in case theyíre right this time I have the window by my desk fully opened to let in whatever remains of this spring day Ė cold and blustery and murky though it may be.

Of course, thereís a downside to that.Itís just a little too cool to be jacket-less, and those occasional gusts of wind have a way of blowing around the papers on my desk.So Iím sitting here wearing a jacket, with notes and papers strewn all over the room, my window wide open to the advancing storm.

Itís a little incongruent, I know.It would make more sense to just close the window, take off the jacket and put the papers back on the desk where they belong.But itís spring, and after a long, cold, snow-filled winter I canít bring myself to shut it out Ė not until I absolutely have to.

Of course, this isnít the first time in my life that Iíve made a choice that flew in the face of conventional wisdom.Come to think of it, my history seems to be filled with more nonsense than common sense.I quit a relatively well-paying job two weeks before my wedding day over a dispute with an abusive employer.Even so, Anita and I decided to begin having children immediately after we were married rather than to wait until we were settled in as a couple and could afford it.We continued having children Ė five of them, God bless Ďem! Ė even though we couldnít afford to buy a home in which to raise them.When we finally DID buy a home after 17 years of marriage and child-bearing, it was probably more than we could afford.

And donít even get me started talking about the extensive remodeling we have just completed Ė right smack dab through the middle of that long, cold, snow-filled winter I was talking about.What were we thinking when we got started with that?

So it isnít too surprising that today I find myself in the midst of another seemingly incongruent change in my life.I wonít bore you with the details Ė itís just work stuff, having to do with leaving one steady, secure job with people Iíve grown to love, and heading off into something a little less secure at a time in my life when I should be worrying about accruing as much pension as I possibly can because . . . well, Iím not getting any younger, you know?

Donít get me wrong: Iím pleased with the new opportunity.But I canít help but wonder if I know what the heck Iím doing.Then I look back on those other unconventional, nonsensical choices, and I realize that things have a way of working out.Which is not to say that things have always turned out perfectly when Iíve gone against the grain, because they havenít.But even bad choices have a way of shaping you and turning you into the person you eventually become.

So Iím putting on a jacket and throwing open another window in my life, fully aware that thereís a storm called ďold ageĒ on its way.The way I see it, life is too short not to enjoy the spring while itís here, whether itís coming or going.

Cold and blustery and murky though it may be.

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ó © Joseph Walker

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