In Nashville, spring always surprises us.

I think it’s because winters here are especially bleak. We get all the bad parts of winter – freezing temperatures, harsh winds, and a sun setting early in a sky that’s been gray for weeks. We rarely get snow, and when we do, it cripples the city for a week and spreads thin our three snowplows. It’s the type of season that fuels the counseling industry for the rest of the year.

But then in the middle of February, the daffodils come up, and they seem just as shocked about it as the rest of us. After a week, they’re in bloom in every yard, laughing like winter never happened.

If they were to speak, I think they’d say something like the first words of Jon Foreman’s new single:

Dylan on that speaker warning
“He not busy being born is dying

It’s a reference to Bob Dylan’s 7-minute epic “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding).” If we’re not treating every day with newness, then all we’re doing is edging closer to death. In Dylan’s song, the line is a warning sung with a hint of scorn, the emphasis on the dying. But in Foreman’s, the emphasis is flipped, making it a mantra bursting with life.

Foreman’s song is called “In Bloom,” and it sounds like it. It’s as lush and meandering as a spring walk, so layered with guitars and pads that you feel it as much as you hear it. For the first thirty-five seconds until the end of the first verse, it’s all major chords. Then, the pre-chorus:

My broken history decomposes
But it’s a part of me that’s pushing up roses

Daffodils, and a host of other flowers, require the cold of winter to produce their blooms. The months of frozen, dry ground are necessary for them to become the harbingers of spring. To Foreman, this counter-intuitive, maddening process is more than a metaphor; it’s how the best things, like flowers and real life, always work. Broken history decomposes, and fertilizes the ground.

Yesterday’s tomb, tomorrow’s womb
The dark is long but the dawn is soon
The light that you seek is seeking you
Let the dead seed go and watch it grow brand-new

Anyone familiar with Jon Foreman (or his band, Switchfoot) knows how honest his music is. He doesn’t shy away from the dark stuff, and isn’t afraid to throw up an angry prayer or a shrug of surrender. But, like a daffodil, he also never gives darkness the last word. He knows spring is coming.

Let the hard times make me wiser
Our failure’s fertilizer for the flowers on my tomb
I’m a desert in bloom

So, if you haven’t listened yet – and if you live somewhere where spring hasn’t yet arrived – then this is the week for “In Bloom.”