This is, easily, the hardest time of year for me. By about this time every year, most of the northern hemisphere is ready for a little thing called spring. But I...never really am. It's around this time every year that I slip into a deep funk.
It's because I feel my stillness slipping away.
The weather turns and people bounce out of their houses like they're prisoners just set free. Everything goes from quiet and resting to bounding and full of life all at once. There's no transitional period. It's cold, and everyone's miserable and then it warms up a few degrees, and the world is back in motion. It's been above freezing less than a week here, and there are already bees. BEES!
Everyone just slow down a little, would ya'?....
It's no secret to the persons that know me well that I'm a winter girl. A fall and winter girl, really. I like it when things start to slow down, when that stillness starts to settle in. I like an opportunity to catch my breath, to cultivate that stillness, to make it a practice of my normal life. I like that the sun rises and sets at a reasonable hour (not in the depth of winter, when the days are just a bit too short, but for the most of this season, this is true) where I can wake up naturally and wind down in the evenings and the earth seems to rise and to settle with me. It's just the rhythm of my soul.
But then the weather starts changing and the world comes to life, and we've even found a way to jump even faster into this - we reset our clocks. We arbitrarily change what time it is and open up our days. We recreate time to make our spring as we rush out into the streets, into the parks, into the great outdoors and soak up this beautiful thing called sunshine that seems so clear in these non-grey days that are starting to dawn on us.
And I don't know. I guess I feel a little like the flower at this time every year. Maybe I start to peek my head out, but I'm still fragile. I'm still tender. I don't just pop my way through the stillness of the settled earth and stretch toward the heavens in all my beauty; it takes a little bit for me to grow. It takes a little bit for me to come out of my stillness and be who I am in the busyness of the world.
I don't think we make a lot of time for that any more.
I think we look at people like the crocus. We see them peek their heads out of the stillness of the settled earth, and we get all excited. We start jumping up and down at these signs of new life. We start telling all our friends "the crocus is here! the crocus is here!" But it's not here. It's just starting to think about being here. We forget how tender it really is.
We forget that sometimes, it still needs a little stillness. We forget that if a cold wind blows, maybe we have to put a little cover back over it for awhile. We have to protect it from the elements that may undo everything it's worked for to this little point in its life. We forget that if the hard rains come, this little crocus may be beaten down. Because it's not built yet for this weather. We forget that if the rains don't come at all, this little crocus may need a little help. We may have to water it.
It's these kinds of things, I guess, that make this season so hard. We're so wired for life that we look and see the smallest glimpse of it, and we can't wait for everything to just explode into the fullness of living that we think comes in spring. I don't explode. I don't know that I ever have. I take my time, and I'm...I'm a little tender. It's not that I don't want to grow. It's just that...It's just that there's this place in me that has been nurtured in stillness and I'm not sure. I'm just not sure about this thing called spring. It's not that stillness isn't possible in the spring, or even in the summer; it's just harder. You have to be more intentional about it.
So forgive me if I don't come bouncing out into the streets this spring. I'm just a little fragile right now. And do me a favor, would you? Remember that. Remember that as this world comes to life, there is life born in the stillness that still isn't sure. There are tender little shoots rising up all around you. If the cold winds blow, put a little cover back over them for awhile. Create a little stillness. If the hard rains come, offer shelter. If no rains come, pour out Living Water on these tender shoots. Help them. Because they feel their stillness slipping away, and that's no easy thing.
Most persons, I think, hardly notice what they're losing when the skies clear and the sun stands high. But not me. I can't help but notice. I feel my stillness slipping away, and it's going to take me a minute. It's going to take me awhile to get my bearings, to find the new balance between day and night, to grow into a world that's no longer in sync with my rhythms. I'll get there. We'll get there.