It happens every year, that feeling that overcomes me. It is a potent mix of joy, longing, and hope. After what feels like an eternity of darkness, cold, and despair it seems to come all at once. I realize that it is still light at dinnertime and the air feels slightly fresher, lighter….more airy? A silent moment is suddenly filled with the sweet song of starlings. A few blades of green grass start peeking through the dry neighbourhood lawns. It is happening: the miracle of spring!
Most years I am well prepared for this particular season more than most. I will have filled notebooks with maps, drawings, plans, and planting dates. My rooms will be filled with seed starts and the strange purple glow of grow lights. I will be anxiously awaiting the days of planting ahead, gently tending to my newly growing seedlings as though they were my babies. Gardening is, in many ways, an extension of my mothering instinct. Not only do I feel this innate need to feed my (now quite grown) babies, but the act of nourishing the plants themselves is entrenched in my DNA. Mothering is quite simply what I do.
But this year is different. We are on the cusp of May and I have yet to plant a single seed. Trays, soil, and lights are as of yet unused. I have a vague sense of what I will grow, a possibility in mind of where each plant will live its summer-long life. Several times I have pulled out my seeds and notebooks, then tucked them all away without doing a thing. My family has spent weeks navigating around the giant bag of seed starting mix deposited by the front door because I am going to get to it “tomorrow”.
It seems that the season has changed from winter to spring everywhere except within me. I seem to be stuck in the cold, dark, and dreary mindset of winter. So much of my life has changed this past season and I am unsure as of yet how to navigate it. My health, home, family, and relationships are all so much different than they were a year ago. Some changes are good, others are hard, but all require time to process. What will I keep, what will I discard, how can I do better going forward, what have I learned? I need an extended hibernation season to figure it all out before I am ready to wake up to the spring.
Perhaps these changes are taking place much like the seasons - silently and with very little fanfare. One day is a little warmer than the next, then the next is warmer still. The sun rises earlier in such small increments that it is imperceptible from one day to the next, then all at once I realize that the sun is up before I am in the morning. Magic! One day I make a slightly different choice than I would have previously, the next day another one. The
changes are imperceptible in me also, then one day I step back and notice how different life is; filled with warmth and joy and growth. That same magic has taken place!
It is amazing how the seasons of life follow the seasons of the year. How the garden can teach us so much about our lives. The joy and hope of spring is just as apparent within us as it is within each and every seed. A new idea, relationship, or possibility grows inside us, silently at first, unseen by the outside world. Finally, when the moment is right it bursts forth into the light. Just like the new seedling bursting through the soil, the conditions need to be right in order for this new thing to grow and thrive.
So today I will plant those long neglected seeds, and in the days to come I will watch them burst through the soil like the tiny miracles they are, allowed to flourish because of the conditions I have created. And I will remember to notice that same energy at work in me. I have worked to create the ideal conditions and planted the seeds of growth and change. Now I wait to see what arises.