This has been a particularly cold and snowy winter for many. I am grateful we have heat and a roof over our heads and that we can support the animals that show up on our doorstep looking for the same.
All that snow has left mounds of snow that in many areas top 8 and 9 feet. Driving is especially fun as I find myself inching forward at cross roads in an effort to see if there is on-coming traffic.
I hear so many people complaining about the Winter, and wishing for warmer weather. But I know, as soon as the weather changes the same people will be complaining about the rain that Spring brings or the unbearable heat that comes with Summer.
Lao Tsu said, ‘Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.’
When we are not happy with where we are, when we try to rush the next step, it creates all sorts of friction in our day-to-day experience and stops the flow of our own lives.
So how do we ‘wish’ for Spring, while still embracing Winter? Here’s how. Nature starts to show signs of spring long before spring arrives. If you are tuned into Nature and connected, you will notice Nature shifting, even in the midst of Winter’s bluster.
Here are some of the very early signs of change that I’ve noticed over the past few weeks, during which time Winter has been in full swing with major snowstorms and below zero temperatures.
- The light – the light in the sky is changing. As the Earth shifts in its rotation, making our days longer, the position of the Sun in the sky changes. As this happens the light in the sky begins to change too. Winter shadows are long and narrow, as the sun’s position change, those shadows start to round out.
- The color of the light begins to change too shifting from a cool blue tone to a warmer tone with more yellows. All very subtle, but the change is there.
- The birds who winter over have begun to seek nesting spots. I noticed as early as three weeks ago, the sparrows checking out all of the nesting spots on our porches.
- The smell of the air. It changes. As Winter starts to shift, the air smells different. This one is difficult to describe, but I can smell Spring coming.
- Buds –yes, buds. The Pussy Willow has little buds all ready to puff out with the first warmer days.
People speak of the first signs of spring being the return of the Robins and snowdrops and peepers; but those aren’t signs of Spring – those are Spring. The shift from Winter to Spring is a slow slide rather than an ‘all-of-a-sudden.’ Winter flows gracefully into Spring as Spring flows into Summer and Summer into Fall. Change is always happening, Nature is always shifting, but we mostly miss it if the signs aren’t obvious.
Since we are Nature, we experience the same constant shifting, growing and evolving, but as we age, we too seem to only notice the big changes, or the changes we don’t like. It’s easier for us to see the minute changes in a baby, for example, because everything they do is so miraculous. I remember so clearly the first time my son Caidin reached out and grabbed a finger. It was my Mom’s and he was in her kitchen sink getting a bath. Both my Mom and I were so awestruck by that one single moment of growth and awareness. But that kind of change is happening all the time with us as we age. We just don’t see it because we are so busy doing other things.
When we are in tune with the rhythm of Nature we become aware that change is always happening. There is no stand-still, the next will always come. Growth will happen, harvest will happen, replenishing will happen. It all happens in its natural rhythm and timing.
Our feelings of anxiousness come from not being present and from desiring change. The beauty is, if we are in-tune with what is happening, change is always happening; both in Nature and in our own lives.
We self-create our own sense of ‘stuck-ness’ by missing the moment and by wishing for something other, rather than seeing the growth that is there.
We love and embrace the new growth of Spring, the fullness of Summer, the beauty and abundance of Autumn, but many of us push against the starkness of Winter. But it is that starkness that lets us see and learn so many amazing lessons about patience, awareness and living in the moment.
If you are wishing for Spring, how can you tune into Nature and see that the seasons are already shifting, see that they are always shifting? Sit quietly and listen to the land, the wind, the animals. Feel the difference in the warmth of the sun, see the changes in the light and smell the earth as it changes. Tap into the natural rhythm of Nature and bring that awareness into your own day-to-day experiences.
Be where you are, and see what changes you can notice in the moment.
Which brings us back to one of our 2015 mantras – ‘Happy to be, happy to grow.’
Have a listen to this Nature Speaks show inspired by this post.