Present Tense

Springing forward….


We’re beginning to see the subtle signs of spring in the great white north.  A few more glimpses of the sun, the drip, drip, drip of ice and snow melting off the eaves, increasing bird sounds and deer venturing out of their hiding places.

And so it goes.  Time always comes to the rescue, to use a well-worn phrase, like clockwork.  We never trust it during our dark times; we lose faith that change will come and now here it is.

Even a record-setting, brutal winter will pass.  Not without consequences to humans, structures and nature, but eventually the renewal begins and we can step out of our closed up dwellings, peel off the down jackets, lose the scarves and mittens and assess the physical and psychic damage of such a challenging season.

This is one of the reasons I’ve made the choice to live in places with four, distinct seasons.  To me, these seasons teach us resilience, flexibility and acceptance.  They come and go with regularity, but we never quite trust it to happen.  And then it does.  Another lesson.

It mirrors phases of our lives.  Like the seasons, good times roll through, as do bad times and transitional times; life is never static, it is fluid.  Like nature.

We humans think that we can control so much; that all will bend to our strong will.  We know deep down that we cannot and that makes us angry and scared, which seems to be a national pastime here in the U.S. of A.

So, as the signs of spring grow and as we ‘spring forward’ this weekend, know that we all morph and evolve and change and transform and grow and die and molt and blossom and renew and shine and fade and shrivel and then begin again.

A little confession:  I wrote this more as a reminder for me, than for you.  But, if it speaks to you,  I am happy.

March 8, 2014 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The winter of my discontent…


This has been a particularly brutal winter and seeing as how it’s our first in this location, we didn’t quite know what to expect.

We figured that since we’d spent the last 14 years in the foothills and mountains of Colorado, there was nothing that northern Michigan could throw at us that we couldn’t handle.

We didn’t anticipate the worst winter in many years; a potential record-setter for misery.   Looks like we’re getting a taste of the old ‘worst case scenario’ right off the bat.

So, as I was looking out at what seems like the 1000th day in a row of snow, I started imagining what it would be like if I could strap into a time machine.  And the question arose:  would I go forward…or backward?

I’ve never been a live-in-the-past, go backward kind of person.  Oh, I have fond memories and I do admit that I’ve found myself longing to return to the college dorm for a few months of irresponsible nonsense, but overall, I tend to look ahead.

But, ‘ahead’ seems murkier than usual.  I’m not sure if it’s age or my still weakened mojo or some regrets that are leaking like a puddle, under my door of confidence.  It could be the weather and the cabin fever that my husband and I are suffering from.  Or maybe the lack of sunlight, which doesn’t seem like such a big deal until you experience it.

I guess what I’m admitting to is a desire to go back in time.  A year, two years…15 years, even.  There are things that I wish I could change or re-think or just do-over.  It’s entirely non-productive, but I can’t quite shake it.

The thing is, there is no way of knowing if a different decision or path or reaction would have resulted in a better outcome.  As one of my favorite Taoist proverbs teaches us, “Who’s to say what’s right or wrong; who’s to say what’s good or bad?”  We are faced with choices, every second of every day and we make them.  Period.  But still…what if, right?

So, let’s remember that we can only deal with right now; with this particular moment.  I can count on spring arriving sometime in the next few months.  Followed by summer, with its glorious warmth and sun and water.  The things we moved here for.

Then autumn and harvest arrive, bringing beauty so intense that you want to cry every time you crest a hill or turn a corner.  Then, winter returns and it’s time to go inside; time to re-new and reassess and nest and hunker down.  We need this time to re-connect with ourselves, for better or for worse.

After my dog Chili died this past October, a friend came over with a whole box full of spring bulbs to plant on her grave.  I was so grateful, but in so much pain, that I sleep-walked through the process.  We planted and covered the bulbs, as I had covered her little body and soul.  My friend could look ahead when I could not.

Those bulbs are resting under nearly 3 feet of snow, but in a few months, they will emerge in stages.  Crocus first, followed by daffodils and tulips.  A reminder that no matter how badly we want to go back, we can’t.  There is a rhythm and a familiar cycle, but it’s always propelling us forward and onward.

And so, here I am.  Right in the middle of the season that forces us to go inward; to rest and renew and struggle and squirm and wait.  So, there is the lesson.  Don’t struggle; don’t wait.  No past, no future, just now.  Ugh…so hard.

That first crocus will be a welcome sight and a reminder that we need periods of rest and death and destruction, in order for the new blooms to appear.  After this particular winter, I should sprout something magnificent when the time is right.

January 26, 2014 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments


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