Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Almost Spring

Why is my Facebook friend, Cindy Marten, committing to take a photograph a day for 365 days? Why is my Twitter friend, Susan Powers eating raw for 21 days? Why does Mark Silver, who writes the beautiful blog Heart of Business feel the urge to return to the yoga practice he abandoned when his twins were born?

Why do I feel compelled (almost suddenly) to commit to a combination of all of these things... and more?

I suspect it has something to do with this, found in Tom Hirons' poem, The Wild Breath:

Today, the earth began exhaling.
All Winter, it held its breath,
Kept its fragrance to itself,
Held itself so tight, I could feel its ribs ache.
But, today, the earth began to smell again

... read full poem

This is the energy of The Almost Spring, of the Great Wheel turning. This is our bodies, responding to the clock of the seasons.

The Almost Spring is an edge. A time of waiting. Like seeds germinating under snow, our ideas and plans grow plump, pregnant as we linger in our warm winter cocoons.

In this time of the great wake up call. I feel myself drawn toward doorways; even with a foot of just-fallen snow on the ground, I, too, am pulling open windows to sniff at the air. There's a building, a bursting, an outward leaping, tossing off the blankets sort of energy coming. . .

But it's not here yet.

Though the light is returning; the days are lengthening - and every cell in my body is stirring, I'm still sleepy, dreamy, still craving the fireside, the lingering cup of tea, the stew, long-simmered on the stove.

Soon enough, my new beginnings will break the surface of the soil. Soon enough they will lengthen into hardy stalks and blooms.

In The Almost Spring, pulled by impulses which seem to conflict - to open wide, to curl inward -we manage this restless time with practice.

This is why so many are inventing new practices now - the 365 days of photos, the 21-day shifts in diet. We are drawn to renew our daily yoga, our diet and exercise. This is what draws us to empty the closets and toss out anything we no longer need.

During this time:
1) We sit down and observe ourselves.
2) We forgive ourselves for what we have let slide, left neglected, failed to take care of in this time of rest
3) We feel our way outward, beginning slowly, and allowing ourselves to stop, if it is too soon.
4) When we are ready, we build our practice slowly, one action and one day at a time

Repeated gently, our Almost Spring practice becomes the cornerstone for a bright emergence into the light.

But remember...

If you find yourself pushing too hard, if you feel resistant to the practice you've taken up, allow that it may be too soon - allow yourself the blessed rest of the season. Turn back to the warm bed, the tousled sheets and crawl in.

In this way, when the sun returns and the snow melt begins to sluice down the sides of the world, we will be ready to burst through the back door, into the sun, and grow.

Happy Almost Spring.

PS Here's a glimpse of the season from Marjory Mejia at her beautiful blog Sacred Flow


Elissa Stein said...

You've written, so beautifully, movingly, succinctly exactly what I'm feeling at the moment.

Marjory said...

Lovely post Amy!Thank you! Your words dance in my tongue!
"The Almost Spring is an edge. A time of waiting. Like seeds germinating under snow, our ideas and plans grow plump, pregnant as we linger in our warm winter cocoons."

Embracing all the seemingly contradictory impulses of the heart, awaiting the coming of Spring!

Coyopa said...

Beautiful post, Amy! Thank you.

And yes, well-reminded. This is a between-time, not full Spring by any means at all (the snow and ice a good reminder if I needed one) but no longer the full Winter that Grips. Gentleness with that growth is so important - again, thank you.

You write with such wise grace.

Jamie said...

Thanks for the beautiful prose.Today, running without earbuds and music, I heard the birds. For one second, it was crystal clear stereophonic spring. There is a reason for winter; so we will become children again in spring. yay!

Cindy Marten said...

I thought you might like this poem to go with this gorgeous entry. You mentioned Mary Oliver recently on Facebook regarding poetry for your mom. It reminded me of one of my favorite poems by Mary Oliver...then today you wrote about I had to share the already know it, I'm sure.

Spring by Mary Oliver

a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is staring
down the mountain.
All night
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring
I think of her,
her four black fists
flicking the gravel,
her tongue
like a red fire
touching the grass,
the cold water.
There is only one question:
how to love this world.

---Much Love and Gratitude,
Cindy Marten
San Diego

Trish said...

Ah. Just moments ago I was thinking of digging a bit in the veg garden or taking an early brisk walk with the dog. The days are beautiful here with just a few lingering patches of snow to let us know it's not quite spring but almost. I'm just going to linger a bit here with my tea. I second Elissa Stein, "You've written, so beautifully, movingly, succinctly exactly what I'm feeling at the moment."

Mark Silver said...

Indeed! And here in Portland, it's beyond "almost" which is great relief. Cherry blossoms blooming, daffodil coming up, birds and sunshine.

Of course, the rain will be back and won't leave until mid-summer, but that's why we love it here.

And, it's true what you say.

Julie said...

Oh you beautiful storyteller, you. Your words tug and pull at me. As I sit right now writing to you, I hear the early birds chirping (it's 6:42 on a saturday morning and the air is quiet and still, except for the chirps.
You've included so many of my favorite friends - Tom, Marjory and Mark. I don't yet know Susan, but perhaps I should?!
Beautiful words from such a beautiful heart.
Love you.

wholly jeanne said...

you words, tom's poem . . . they articulate what i've been feeling today. an edge. a threshold. a pre, almost exhale.