2/3/12 “Noticing the Change of Season”

Good day, team.

Yesterday was Groundhog Day, and our weather predictor, Punxsutawney Phil, did not see his shadow. If you believe in the age-old tradition of watching the groundhog emerge from his hole for breakfast on Feb. 2 to see if he casts a shadow or not, this year we’re going to have an early spring.

My challenge this week is to take notice of the changing seasons. We often don’t tune in to the seasonal changes because our lives are so busy. We don’t rely on the heat of the sun in spring and summer to keep us warm. And when we need food, we just go to the grocery store to buy what we want. But ultimately, our warmth and our food do come from nature, and the coming of each new season is a reminder of that.

Winter is a time of dormancy and hibernation. Try leaving the cocoon of your warm bed on a dark, cold morning — every effort you make seems the opposite of what the environment is telling you to do. Conversely, try staying in bed on a bright summer morning, when the birds are singing and the earth is fully awake. It’s tough to lie in bed when you’re being encouraged to get up and do things. Mother Nature sends us very clear messages about each season, and it’s up to us to either embrace them or ignore them.

This morning, I went out for a walk on our property in the Columbia Gorge. The sun was rising from the east through fog and low clouds. It cast huge beams of radiant light across the spectacular rock face across the Columbia River. I saw a tree filled with expectant robins anxious to find some fat worms in the ground. The docile cows on our neighbors’ hill gave me a peaceful look, as if to say, “It’s a fine morning, and all’s right with the world.” Under my feet, tiny green plants were emerging, an emerald carpet stretched out before me on what was brown mud a month ago. An occasional dot of color drew my attention to an emerging wildflower. This type of moment brings me back to home base, to a place within myself where I can tune in to nature and her reminder of what’s important.

As I headed back to the house, I saw some daffodils beginning to peak out of the ground — only ¼ inch tall, but nonetheless, bright green shoots poking up from the dirt. This made me smile and reminds me of the courage these lovely flowers have each year, popping up without fear of frost or ruin from a sudden late winter storm.

Courage and boldness are what spring is all about. This is when nature says, “Be bold. Don’t be afraid to grow and flower.” It’s when all animals, birds, bugs and bees wake up and rejoice in the coming of plentiful food and more agreeable temperatures. It’s when nature encourages us to grow and expand, to create and reach out for more opportunities.

This week, observe how the energy of springtime encourages activity and boldness. Try getting out to greet what little bits of spring are beginning to emerge. In preparation for the full-blown emergence of the season, think about what you’ll do over the next few months to boldly take advantage of spring’s active energy. What may have seemed too hard to do in winter, might just seem possible with the coming of spring. How about using the vibrant energy of the season to do something you otherwise would consider risky?

Author Christopher Morley wrote,

“April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks ‘Go.’”

Spring gives us the oomph that seems so inaccessible on a wintry day. How will you use it to enrich your life and take you beyond your limitations?

I’m not naïve enough to think that just because Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow yesterday morning, that the Pacific Northwest won’t dump more winter on us. I’ll still keep the wood stove going out at our house in the Gorge for a few more months. But the daffodils won’t retreat, and the robins won’t fly away. They know that spring is around the corner, and they will remind me that I can take advantage of the season to be bold and to revel in its beauty.

As Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote,

“And Spring arose on the garden fair,

Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;

And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast

rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.”

Have a good week!


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