Now is the Time for Moral Strength

Karen Shiebler
3 min readMar 25, 2022

These are the times that try a person’s soul

Photo by Yoksel 🌿 Zok on Unsplash

There are times in a person’s life when self-control is difficult to maintain. This week is one of those times.

And I don’t mean the internal struggle that I go through every time Ted Cruz appears onscreen and I want to put my boot through the TV before he starts his snark-whining. As hard as that is, it’s not the worst of my internal struggles.

You see, I live in northern Massachusetts, up in what the meteorologists refer to as the “hills of Worcester County.”

Today the sun is shining and the temperature is approaching 60 degrees. I can smell the thawing earth. The lilacs have little buds just beginning to swell and five robins are bouncing along the grass. There are at least two pileated woodpeckers drumming in the woods behind the house and I even have two tiny crocuses opening up.

Spring! Yay!

I want to get out there and DIG! I want to rake all the dead leaves and pine needles out of the garden beds, put out some compost and get some seeds into the ground!

But I can’t.

Because there is actually still snow on the ground. Slushy, gray piles of icy pellets that just keep hanging on. Like an aging member of Congress, they don’t seem to realize that their time is up and a new day is dawning. I hate them. I want to pour boiling water on them.

Alas, that wouldn’t help.

Because this is March. This is New England. These are the “hills of Worcester County.”

Yesterday there was sleet all day. All those cute buds were glazed over. The crocuses were lying down on the frozen mud.

And next week will be below freezing.


It feels like spring. It smells like spring. I am yearning to get my hands into that dirt. That slowly defrosting but still rock hard earth. I want to fill my planters and put in some marigold and nasturtium seeds. I have my seed packets! I have my planters cleaned and my potting soil ready to go.

Maybe I should just start soaking the morning glory seeds? Or put out the birdbath?

NO. I must be strong. I must resist.

We could have a blizzard between now and planting day. I KNOW this. This is my 66th spring. I have made the “garden too early mistake” more than once.

So I will not relent. I will not yield. With great hope and optimism, I have moved the rakes from the shed to the garage. But I wasn’t naive enough to put the snow shovels away. The composted manure is sitting next to the ice melt. The windshield scrapers are on the shelf right next to the trowels and clippers.

Ah, spring.

A time when moral fortitude is required.

Karen Shiebler

A Mother, a grandmother, a progressive voter. I write because it’s getting harder to march and because words are my only weapon. I blog at