It’s the first day of spring. I’ve never really paid much attention to that. The weather tends to be what it will be and one day doesn’t feel much different from the next. Today, however, feels fresh, new. What does it mean to go from one season to the next anyway? For the trees, the deciduous ones anyway, winter means the shedding of the leaves. The complete, utter bareness of the limbs. Trees are actually one of my favorite things. Even in winter, they are beautiful. When spring arrives, or let’s face it, when the warm days begin, the leaves begin to grow back. There is color and life again. The birds return. I used to have a tree outside my back door that would demonstrate this beautifully. In the summer, it was so full of beautiful, lush, green leaves. I could sit outside and watch the squirrels play and eat. The birds would sing, everyone was happy. In the fall, the leaves would begin to shed. They didn’t change color unfortunately, but the process was lovely to watch regardless. I could see the squirrels foraging and gathering whatever they needed to get them through the winter. Where they retreated to, I have no idea. Once winter hit, and all the leaves were gone and the squirrels had gathered their fill, the birds would come in and finish the cleaning of the berries. I was incredibly blessed one year to witness a migration of some sort of parrot. Seeing the tree give every last bit of itself reminded me of The Giving Tree. Just an amazing series of events to witness. Then as spring came, the leaves would return and I would be amazed at how quickly it was fully flourishing, back to its original splendor.
I marveled at how each season was beautiful in its own right. The bareness of the limbs in winter being my new favorite. Rather than seeing it as bare or dead, I viewed it as completely pared down, renewed, letting go of the old to prepare for what was to come. Our life cycles follow similar patterns, whether its within the year, or over several. In the spring, we do our “spring cleaning”. We dust what hasn’t been dusted all year, clean out closets, vacuum under furniture. (I mean, I guess that’s what people do :-)) We prepare for the coming summer when playtime is at its highest. Then as fall returns, we experience a different kind of renewal. We begin to be grateful for cooler temperatures. For many, school begins; we start getting ready for the holidays. Then as winter arrives we settle in. Some hibernate, many experience hustle and bustle. How often do we really take the time to notice what’s really going on?
My own personal winter has seen me also completely pared down. Much like the Giving Tree, I have given every last bit of myself. I have whittled away, or been whittled by circumstance, in my physical being as well as in my physical surroundings. All the while, life waiting for me to take charge, to take control of who I am regardless of what others want of me. But like the tree in winter, the complete bareness of my branches has had purpose. The Universe sees to it that the leaves return in spring, no effort required on the part of the tree. I too must trust, as we all must, in the process of life. The tree doesn’t complain that it has lost something so valuable as its “beauty”, its flourishing leaves. No, it stands tall and exposed, just as it is. So too must we.
I have set my intention for the past several months to “shed” that which does not serve me any longer; to move through mindsets, habits, and ways of being that hold me back. Though I have seen and experienced a transformation of my own, I will still have the same challenges, as is human nature. But a mindful approach to life and a desire to walk this path with awareness has allowed me to move into this first day of spring with new skin, and I am grateful. I know even as I write these words, I will be challenged to walk the walk. I may fall, but I will rise, and I will learn; and I will do my very best to not complain.
I encourage us all to step into spring and allow nature to give to us fresh “leaves”, fresh outlook, perspective. I encourage us to trust in the Universe; to know that though the cycle of life may “prune” our branches, it also provides a future that flourishes. May we not be afraid to speak our truths and live according to our highest values; i.e., that which WE desire and not what others expect of us. Lastly, I encourage us to live life fully, to take chances, have faith, and trust that when we surrender to the flow, the Universe provides exactly what we need.
Thank you for listening.