Spring has arrived


Photo credit : (cc-by-nc-nd) Bruno Monginoux / http://www.Landscape-Photo.net : nature and urban photography, free stock photos

It is finally the first full day of spring—complete with warm, spring-like weather in this part of the country. With all that I have been through these past few months, it has felt like winter has lasted forever this year. I don’t remember ever being quite this excited to welcome the arrival of spring.

The warmer weather lured me outside after work to spend some time working in the yard and the ponds to prepare for the coming growing season. Signs of new life are all around in the bulbs bursting up out of the ground, the buds swelling of the limbs of trees and shrubs, and (unfortunately) the first algae bloom of the season in the ponds.

As I worked, I celebrated these signs of new life, eagerly anticipating the joy of watching the renewal of spring continuing to unfold over the coming moths. I am eager to watch my world transform again from the spare look of dormant grays and browns to the vibrancy of greens and the lushness of blooming flowers.

And yet, even in the midst of my celebration, I also recognized the familiar impatience of not wanting to wait for this re-emergence of life to unfold over the coming weeks. I want it all to be here right now. Today! This minute! It’s hard to relax into the full enjoyment and appreciation of these small hints of new life that come with early spring when I am already trying to leap ahead to the fullness of summer. However, I have to keep reminding myself that not only is it not yet time for everything to return to full growth, there is still much I need to do in the yard and in the ponds in order to be ready for the growth of summer.

It strikes me that this is also the perfect metaphor for where I am in my journey right now. I am seeing many tiny hints of new life creeping into the barrenness of what was left of my life. I catch glimpses of buds swelling on the tips of life’s branches, waiting to burst into bloom. I sense the return of green growth just around the corner, but rather than savoring each hint of what is to come, I impatiently focus on what is not yet here. I want to rush ahead into a new life of abundance without waiting for it to develop in its own time when the conditions are ripe.

The weather forecast tells me that freezing temperatures and possibly snow will be back later this week. The risk of frost and freezing is not yet past, and this is why everything cannot safely burst into full bloom on the first truly warm day of the year. Nature protects itself by waiting patiently until the danger of freezing temperatures is past before exploding into full growth. Some plants can tolerate colder conditions than others, and each one blooms in its own time when the conditions are right for its appearance. (For more fascinating information about the little we know about how this works, see The Science of Spring: Plants rely on internal alarm clocks to tell them when to wake up from winter, an article which appeared in my Facebook feed while I was writing this post. Synchronicity!)

Likewise, the new life that I am moving toward will bloom as the conditions are right for each aspect of that life to safely emerge. My job is not to impatiently push forward into trying to rush that emergence to happen on my timetable. My job is to continue working on me in order to create the proper conditions for that new life to flourish once it is ready to bloom. My job is to dig deep to loosen the soil of my life, to allow the parts of me that have died to return to compost, to clear away the debris (baggage) of my old life to make room for the new, to plant the seeds of those things I want to see grow into being in this new life. My job is to do the hard work necessary to make me the person I need to be in order to welcome and sustain the new life that will spring forth over time.

Just like in my yard, there is still much work that I need to do and there may yet be more harsh weather ahead before things really blossom the way I want them to. This is a good time to celebrate the signs of progress I’m seeing, but I then need to focus back on the work at hand and let it all unfold at its own rate.

Patience. Maybe that’s the lesson of spring for me. Patience.

A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a very fragile place, and it takes a good deal of vulnerability to share this personal journey of transformation so openly. Therefore, I need this to be a safe place for exploration and sharing for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight—or the expression of that experience or insight—are NOT welcome here and will be deleted.