It’s been a particularly brutal winter here in New England–long, sub-zero temperatures and ridiculously huge amounts of snow. I’m not fond of winter anyway, but I came into this one with a positive attitude and a new pellet stove. It pushed me to my limits and my pocketbook to the seams.
But now maybe, just maybe I’m seeing some signs of it breaking. It’s starting to transition and the signs of spring are finally, albeit extremely late, are starting to appear.
The red-winged black birds are finally back, accompanied by other familiar song birds who have followed the lengthening light. I’m finally starting to see the sap buckets starting to hang, although I’ve heard the lament of the maple syrup farmers say that it’s way past its usual time. Woodpeckers were out this morning banging deep for the worms and bugs which must finally must be squirming around in the bark of trees. And the local cock was crowing early today as I walked my pups on their daily walk–I haven’t him crowing for months! My raised beds are finally uncovered from the mounds of snow and some of my back yard is starting to show ground. All the bob houses are off the lake now and people are starting to fall through the ice and needing to be rescued! That’s always a sure sign (not a good one!) And there’s that wonderful earthy, snow-melting, fresh smell to the air.
I’m fairly convinced now spring will most definitely will arrive, even if we do get some rogue snow storm in April. Soon I will even see snow drops, crocuses and daffodils! And I can’t wait. It’s been a long winter.
But through this long, dark winter and this transitioning seasonal time, I’ve had time to transition too. I’ve spent a lot of time being within my dark place. This is what the winter is all about: digging in, being quiet and being contemplative. I’ve been trying hard to take the cold, harsh months to take a good look at my life and myself. During these times there has been much I’ve seen that needed changing, growing, harvesting, fertilizing, pruning, seeding and blossoming into bigger things.
Spring is my season…and summer. I love warmth and see it as my time. It is my best time and I hope the seeds that I’ve been nurturing during the winter months can burst forth during the warmer months.
We all have the opportunity for transition in our lives. Many of us are conscious of these times in our lives if we are going through some obvious pivotal point in our life such as a divorce, marriage, graduation or having a baby. These moments change us. But some moments are not as obvious. And some transitional times we can create ourselves.
Ancient humans seemed that these time were more innate and they were often timed by the changing of the season, or the passing of the sun and moon. The celestial time clocks moved their transitions as they had no formal clocks. They too had ceremonies based on major life changes that moved them from one stage of life to another. They were often elaborate maybe lasting more than a day. They understood the importance of transitions, and their spiritual beliefs mingled with their daily lives. Many of our ancestors felt it was vital to their existence to appease entities to have good harvests, good marriages, smooth births and therefore had ceremonies during these transitional times.
Today, maybe because of how busy we feel we all are, we tend to down play most of these types of transitions in life. Some are still important to us, like marriages. But the seasonal ones, are insignificant to most. We don’t celebrate winter leaving and the coming of spring, even though most of us are so joyous about it! Or when our harvests come in, because none of us even notice anymore. We just go to the grocery store now.
For me, these kinds of transitions are still vitally important. I feel them in my bones and soul. They are important from an ancestral point of view! They connect us to our past, they connect me to my past. When the red-wings come back and I hear them again, when I smell that familiar spring like smell in the air and see that particular day light—all the things I’ve seen so many, many years before, something stirs within me. It connects me to the pattern, the web of life of which I am part, that circle of life on our spinning blue ball. And it assures me that some things in life are predictable, and in this crazy world, this is a good thing.