Spring fatigue—it’s a thing, right? Tiredness that we wish we could shake off even as the days lengthen in northern climes? Instead of more energy as daylight hours increase, lethargy. Instead of buoyancy, weariness.

In my part of the world in the Canadian Pacific Southwest, the sap is rising, yes. I can hardly complain! Snowdrops poke up through the soil, snowdrops soon to openand green stems make bold promises to become daffodils and tulips in the coming weeks. But the days are often grey, and a surprise snowfall, rare, is almost, dare I say it, fun? Be careful what you wish for! I will say this: it’s certainly brighter.

Is it still cold out there? Perceptions of ideal temperatures vary, as I recently tested out with some of my university students. “What do you think was the ideal temperature in the Garden of Eden? Like maybe 30 Celsius?” I asked. Some looked mildly shocked, protesting, “Too hot! More like 20 Celsius.” I was surprised: such hardy young folk that I get to teach! I said, “You must be Canadian! But . . . remember, they weren’t wearing clothing in Eden.” No, my vocal students were firm: 20 Celsius it was. As you can probably guess, though I’m Canadian born and raised, and love some frosty snowy days, especially if I can get up into the mountains, I’m a summer child at heart. The hammock, the canoe, warm summer evenings. I long for those balmy days, and so in my impatience the sap seems to rise very slowly, too slowly, in my view. Old Man Winter lingers too long even as harbingers of spring arrive. Then again, I delight in blustery winter-going-on-spring days at the seashore Cresent Beachthat invite greater numbers of eagles to soar on the updraft and flocks of smaller birds to huddle together as they ride the waves in community. Glide, ride–this is how to take in stormier weather. Perhaps the shorebirds can teach me a thing or two about beauty in the waiting.

Patience is an underrated idea. C. S. Lewis has said there are three kinds of patience: patience with God, patience with others, and patience with yourself. I suspect the third kind, patience with yourself, could be the hardest kind of patience to practice. Be patient with myself as I navigate spring fatigue? Don’t expect too much? Pace myself? Rest?

Google “spring tiredness” and lots of articles pop up on what it’s like, why some of us have it, and what to do about it. In German it’s called Frühjahrsmüdigkeit, and whenever my mother referred to it I felt relieved, and thought, “Okay, it’s not just me. It’s a thing. People get this way—and, importantly, it’ll pass.”

But meanwhile, whatever happened to all the fine plans for the new year? Why can’t one do more–faster, better? It’s not only university students in March and April who wonder, “How will I get it all done?!” Judge each day by the seeds you plantAbsolutely: “Even youths grow tired and weary. . . .” And beware: with this season of fatigue they say the rates of depression and anxiety peak. Then, in these last couple of years especially, how often have you heard people say, “Everyone is so tired, so tired.” How often have you noticed a kind of exhaustion, physical and otherwise, in yourself and others? So, yeah, spring fatigue is a thing—and then some with cumulating fatigue.

But in spring, if fatigue happens, let’s not confuse the wished-for harvest with the planting. When I’m impatient, or just too tired to even recognize my impatience, these words on a poster I have give me perspective: “Judge each day not by the harvest, but by the seeds you plant.” Amen to that.

This March, as we’ve once again entered the season of Lent, I’m pondering how one’s own possible springtime fatigue is proper, in keeping with our contemplation of the passion of Christ. The symbolism of ashes on the first Wednesday of Lent is a stark reminder of our mortality, of shared suffering. And our own exhaustion, our own waiting, mirrors, in a small way, His sure journey to the Cross on our behalf, doesn’t it? And perhaps, in our awareness of our own fatigue we are better able to ponder His? The phrase “passion of patience” comes to mind. It’s a phrase from Charles Williams that     C. S. Lewis quoted in his novel That Hideous Strength. This is a lovely paradox: the “passion of patience” is both passivity—a relinquishment, a giving up or giving over of our own agendas to the higher one—and agency in so doing. Impossible? Can it be done? But then, isn’t spring fatigue evidence that it is the only thing to be done?

snowdrops in sunshineIn our world where dark forces flex their muscles, where natural disasters shake the planet, having something of this “passion of patience” seems to be the best response. So maybe let’s consider enduring seasonal fatigue with this kind of patience that is not exactly lethargy (or not lethargy at all, regardless of our tiredness) but is carried by a distinctive energy—not enormous energy, not yet anyway, but a quiet willingness to expect energy to revive us. Then we can venture to face fatigue in a quiet hope. Instead of succumbing to depression and anxiety, we might journey along in the expectation of hope that is yet to be fulfilled. And with such a quiet hope in the not-yet-but-still-to-be comes the faint stirrings of surprising joy.

This season, let’s consider how to wait in hope-filled readiness. The sap rises, though ever so slowly. This season, let’s plant a few seeds each day toward the harvest that is sure to codaffodils 4me. And, last but not least, let’s allow ourselves to rest, to pace ourselves. We have it on the best authority: take one day at a time (Matthew 6:34).

Remember to pick up your copy of Letters to Annie.

Order Letters to Annie at FriesenPressAmazon, or through your local bookstore. And please leave your feedback on Amazon!

Sign up to receive my blog posts on my website:


Follow me on Social Media:



Watch for my April blog: “A Holy Grief.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: