“The Spring-Green Persistence of Life,” Feb. 28, 2023

(Note: I wrote this column in 2015, while living in Las Vegas of All Places.)

For me, two of the loveliest words in the English language are “Life persists.”

I happened on them years ago as a college freshman, sitting in the library on a gorgeous spring day, bored spitless, working on a history paper. I don’t recall what I was researching. Funny, isn’t it, the things we find while looking for something else?

Out of nowhere, those two words came dancing off the page in a quote by Gandhi from his essay “On God”: “In the midst of death life persists, in the midst of untruth truth persists, in the midst of darkness light persists.”

Suddenly I wasn’t bored any more. I reread those words a dozen times. Then I closed the book and left the library. Outside in dazzling sunshine, I kicked off my Weejuns and danced barefoot across a spring-green lawn back to the dorm to call my granddad.

A man of many talents, and the father of 12 children, he’d been a baker, a shoe salesman, a restaurateur and a sometime Baptist preacher, who, as my grandmother liked to say, “worked for the Lord when he couldn’t find a paying job.”

Growing up, I loved to talk with him about what he called “the things of God.” I was pretty sure the Gandhi quote fit that category, and I couldn’t wait to hear what he’d think of it. He was a mite hard of hearing, so I had to repeat it a few times, but once he got it, he laughed.

“All I can say to that,” he said, “is amen and amen and amen!”

We talked for a while about other things, my schooling, his checker playing, the weather. I told him how glad I was, after a long winter, to finally see spring and especially to find that quote.

“Why is that?” he asked.

I was feeling all full of myself, a big college freshman, so I said, “Well, spring is a sure sign that, like the quote says, life persists. And it just makes me happy.”

He chuckled again, the way you might laugh at a slow-witted dog that finally learns to sit up and beg for a bone.

Then, in his lovely baritone preacher’s voice, he recited just for me his favorite “springtime” verse, words from the prophet Isaiah: “The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose … even with joy and singing.”

My granddad. I wish you could’ve known him.

I told you all that to tell you this. I love spring. And this year, I was especially hungry to see it. Maybe you were, too.

Flying home last weekend to Las Vegas, after 10 days in California, I looked down on hills that were so green I could almost taste them. Nearing Vegas, the green turned a drab desert brown. We landed after sunset, and the only green to be seen was neon.

But the next morning, to my surprise, I awoke to find signs of spring all over my yard. In my absence, all sorts of things had sprouted and leafed and budded and bloomed. I’d tell you their names, but I’m sorry, I don’t know them. I just call them Lucy or Ethel or Fred.

Three days later, my husband and I drove to Scottsdale, Ariz., to see the Giants play the A’s in spring training. The drive across the desert was flat-out spectacular, a profusion of wildflowers and blooming cactus. I could almost hear my granddad laughing, “The desert shall rejoice.”

Sometimes we need to be reminded that we’re still alive.

After my first husband died, a friend sent me a card that made me want to kick off my shoes and dance barefoot on the grass. It read, “Just when you think you will never smile again, life comes back.”

Life persists, and so do we, in the green of spring and the dead of winter; in the birth of a child and the passing of a loved one; in the words and deeds we leave behind and in the hearts of those who will remember us.

Spring reminds us that life persists and we’re alive forever.

Amen and amen and amen.

(Sharon Randall is the author of “The World and Then Some.” She can be reached at P.O. Box 922, Carmel Valley CA 93924 or www.sharonrandall.com.)


  1. Dear friend. I count you as my dear friend. I read every column of yours that appeared in the Dalton Daily Citizen for many months. Then to my great happiness, you kindly wrote a novel! I was over the moon, and have told everyone I know about your magical novel! It has soothed me to sleep for several nights now! Boy! Then I dream the best dreams! I was particularly fond of Frank and James. I had two new best friends, Ada and Cora! Lord, I loved little Lacey! I would have simply loved to slap Loretta, and take poor Justin under my wing!! I love this book SO much I will be starting my third reading. I’m waiting on my best friend Lelia to read her copy with me and mine so we can discuss it! Yay!! She has a book club she enjoys where she lives on the Berry College Campus in an Apartment which is part of a group of Apartments known as The Spires. I would love to live there, such a beautiful campus! My son, my baby went to 4 years of college there. He loved it and had a Schlorships to attend. Bless him! It would have put a huge dent in our savings. He’s a Biologist and Environmentalist. He’s also a very good son and daddy and man. He was worth the labor pains “and then some :)”
    God bless you Sharon and your writing talent. Please don’t stop!! My brain soaks it up like a dry desert! Take care and visit me again with your stories! I will pull out a quilt for you and pull around a rocking chair and get us some tea, or peach tea. Lipton has some good Peach tea. Get you some! I’m off for bed to visit with Ada and Cora again and let their sweet story lull me to sleep.?I might pass some time with sweet James! K

  2. Janet Mann says

    Thank you Sharon. You always hit the nail on the head! Spring is almost here in my part of this beautiful country, AMERICA!

  3. No matter one’s religion or non-religion, the observation that “in the words and deeds we leave behind and in the hearts of those who will remember us” rings true.
    Thank you, for your uplifting words.
    I’ve been reading & enjoying your column since you lived in Pacific Grove.

  4. Lana Barkman says


  5. Beth J Gambrell says

    Amen x 4. Awesome to reread your stori
    es. We might get old. But they don’t t

  6. So very true. Your writings always inspire me. When I went to college with 4 little ones at home, spouse who worked nights, & I worked on campus to pay part of the bill. At special times spouse would come to campus with a picnic lunch & the kiddos. Those brought good memories. I was determined to graduate with honors & I did in 3 &1/2 yrs. My phrase was Knowledge is Power!! I wrote it on all my notebooks. Our marriage remained strong & our 4 all graduated from college. With God’s help we won. We are blessed. Thank you for your terrific writings.

  7. Amen and amen and amen. As always, you touch my heart, Sharon. Thank you.

  8. Refreshing I love reading your stories

  9. I love and admire your writings. I spent several years in Monterey and Carmel in my youth. Such beauty surrounds there. Thank you for uplifting me once again

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