All the leaves are budding on the maple tree in front of my house. They’re a robust red, really a bright plum color. It catches my eye every time I peek through the open blinds. The bark is dark, like a hoard of borrowers grew cumbersome in their typical evening ritual of nipping my bobby pins and important post-it notes, and instead stained the wood last night while I was sleeping.

I feel like I’m on the opposite side of Lewis Carroll, across time and season, facing the other end of his quote, “I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”

For even though the day is cold, the skies are grey and filled with heavy pockets of moisture waiting to break the dam, spring is coming. The earth is waking up. The tree, with its happy little buds and deepening roots, tells me so. I am like that tree. Winter was hard. It blanketed me, I burrowed in, and felt all the feelings. Now I am healed, I’m showing signs of new growth and in a few more weeks, I too will blossom.

A lotus flower thrives in mud. Its roots are buried deep in the muck and earth. And though its surroundings are not as seemly as a well cared for garden with rich soil and gorgeous greenery, it is from the mud this flower grows. In fact, it thrives.

Our surroundings do not determine our outcomes. We do.

So if you find you have been encumbered in sadness or shame or feeling less than, know it is but a moment in time. Tomorrow you may well unfurl your petals and change the world.