Winter is a time for inner exploration, a time to focus on soulful growth. A blanket of snow drops over the earth to silence our surroundings, and we, too, become quiet. As we slow down, it becomes apparent that we are one with the seasons.
For me, this slower pace has not always been the easiest stride to adopt. This was the first year where I really allowed myself to sink into dormancy. My life was in transition along with the weather, and I had no choice but to let go and rest into the moment.
In the time of darkness and chill, it is tempting to rush ahead and jump into the daydreams of future sunshine and warmth. The spring can call us away to live in a place that does not yet exist. A place where it is easy to be present because the grass is green, the fruit is ripe, and the plants reach their petals up to the sun. It is much harder to be present in the dark and seemingly dead of winter. But only when we truly snuggle into the cold of winter do we arrive at spring. After all, the only way to get to is to go through.
When I caught myself leaping into imaginary sun rays to smell the not-yet blooms of flowers, I practiced a return to the present moment through breath. I leaned into the not knowing what was coming after the stillness. I sat with myself in solitude and explored the discomfort of unearthing previous habits and beliefs. I worked to let go of dusty old stories in order to adopt new mantras to live out when that sunshine of spring did reappear. I contemplated how if we do not allow ourselves to take part in this natural cycle of the seasons, we will not have the stored energy to be awake for spring. So I hibernated. I rested. And thank goodness I did because as soon as spring did hit, it was a whirlwind of activity.
The earth began to wake up and stretched its little grassy arms up toward the sky. The community awoke with it.
The energy of this spring awakening inspired the first Prints & Plants workshop at a Farm Equinox Party to celebrate the transition into a colorful season. We used local veggies to print (and to eat) in joyful song and stories.
Now the days are growing longer and I practice being fully present to all of the gifts of this season. <3
Such Singing in the Wild Branches
It was spring
and I finally heard him
among the first leaves––
then I saw him clutching the limb
in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still
and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness––
and that’s when it happened,
when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree––
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,
and the sands in the glass
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward
like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing––
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed
not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfect blue sky–––all of them
And, of course, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn’t last
For more than a few moments.
It’s one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,
is that, once you’ve been there,
you’re there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?
Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then––open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.