Today is the first day of Spring. As we prepare to put the cold, darker days of Winter to bed, and wake up from our long hibernation of the heart, I resist the urge to let my mind skip right ahead to Summer. The calendar tells me that Winter is done, I want warmth, long days, feet in the sand at the beach, the scent of flowers on the wind, a farmers’ market bursting with berries.
But I will have to wait, because Spring has its own plan and takes its own time. Spring is not for blossoming, it is a time for seeds.
In my spiritual tradition is a time to plant the seeds of intention; to ask what it is that I wish to grow in myself in the coming year. This is not an easy answer for me. In recent years in I’ve often been too in middle of things to pause and reflect on what I wish to plant. But last night as I lay in bed pondering the coming spring, a word came to my mind:
Like my mind jumping ahead to fantasies of not too hot or humid summer days, uncrowded sandy beaches, and berries arriving at the farmers market at the same time as my paycheck arrives at the bank, my thoughts of my own future are nearly always filled with images of perfection that have little to do with reality. In my dreams of summer there are no bad air days to keep me stuck inside, I have plenty of time to take hours long meanders on the beach (if I even remember this is something I want to do since there are many summers that end without my going to the beach at all), and I arrive at the farmers’ market at 7:30AM every Wednesday, cash in hand, ready to fill my canvas shopping bags with fresh, local produce.
In the fantasies of my future self I am never, ever broke and my whole financial life is perfectly budgeted. I rise extra early each day to do a half hour of yoga, fifteen minutes of meditation, and another thirty minutes writing in my journal. I am a social media and marketing boss, posting engaging content that promotes the work that I do which of course leads to classes and workshops that are not only full but have waiting lists. My future self follows a diet that is organic and wholesome. I am emotionally balanced and almost never self-medicate with booze, food, or Netflix. I get restful sleep every night and I am perfectly, perfectly, hydrated. I live a fearless life where I achieve all my dreams.
Spring is not perfect. Spring is mud, and potholes. Spring is days that are sunny but leaving you wishing you’d brought a hat. Spring is 18 inches of snow in April and 75 degrees the next day. Spring is melting snowbanks that reveal piles of decomposing dog shit on the grassy verge** between the sidewalk and the street. Spring is too many layers or not enough. Spring is last Autumn’s root vegetables at the farmers’ market when what you really, really want is a tomato.
Spring is also the return of birdsong when it seems impossibly early and too cold for nesting. Spring is more daylight than darkness. Spring is fat green buds on the trees, crocuses, daffodils, and, eventually, the scent of lilacs. Spring is the sound of winter water running into the stormwater drain. Spring is sandals with wool socks because I just can’t wait any longer.
Spring is imperfect and beautiful, and it makes no apologies.
And so, this is the seed I plant today. The seed of imperfection. It is the intention to grow into my inconsistencies, my less thans, my not enoughs, my not quite there yets. It is the act of shining the light on my contrariness and off days. It is a seed that I plant in the earth of my cracked self-esteem, watered by my weeping, and warmed by the desire to love myself as I am.
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**yes, this is what that particular space of land is called. I had to look it up: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_verge