I live in a bio-region near the east coast that pulses with changes in seasons. I gather in a faith community which follows liturgical seasons with amazing parallels to the changes in deciduous trees (not that I am discounting the evergreens – the hope symbol, reminder that Life is ever present).. Deciduous – tending to fall off. Maple helicopters, the winged seeds, drop off just before the leaves fall on sun-shortened days.
In the Catholic Church, fall portends the beginning of seasons – advent, vigil, waiting in darkness for the coming of light. The dormant season will spring into life about the time we celebrate resurrection. Whether I find myself naturally falling into these familiar patterns, or nature magnetically draws me into its cycles, the seasons speak to me.
That’s why it’s only natural that Easter springs into my days and I find myself standing in front of an empty tomb in amazement. The new greening, the dandelions and dogwood flowers, spring blooming azaleas provide an encouraging, life-giving background; just what I need to make a leap of faith and ask the big questions. Where are the surprises, the unpredictable places in life that leave me speechless and unknowing where to turn? Who are the messengers telling me “don’t be afraid; be amazed.” Look for resurrection, reawakening, rebirth with new eyes; listen with new ears. Can’t you hear the evergreens, shimmering with joy, welcoming back their old friends? Bending a bit closer they whisper “Nice new leaves you’re wearing; you’ve added a bit of girth.”
April showers bring May flowers but March winds – well that’s the portent of change. In the 1970’s, living a back-to-earth lifestyle on a 150 acres farm in Kentucky, my husband and I quickly learned to pay attention to the lessons given by all of creation – the trees, plants, animals, insects, soil, clouds, sun, the long-time farmers and the Cooperative Extension agents.
Winter 1978 was particularly brutal for us. Packed snow and ice covered fields and pathways from December well into March. When the melting began, our half-mile drive to the paved road became a mud slide. I fretted over how the fields could possibly dry in time for spring planting. Just then the March winds stirred and like a miracle, an intentional one, the fields began to dry overnight. Still blustery March winds can bite and mask spring’s attempt to bring warmth.
Why March winds? The field guide for amateur meteorologists would say something like this: high barometric pressure of lingering cold masses and low pressure of the increasingly sunny days make for a bit of a blow. I often find parallels between nature and my interior self. In fact there are indeed times in my life when competing pressures lead to a big blow and the need for a refreshing change in atmosphere. Clear blue skies to follow.
In my North Carolina habitat I am surrounded by tall, long needled pines. Today I listened as March winds brushed the tops of trees and joined the birds’ backyard symphony with gusto. Rushing winds made me slow down and listen and that has the ring of a paradox. I felt their presence, turned my head skyward to watch the trees tops dance about and thought about the Breath of Life.