Life seldom turns out as planned. And maybe we look at that crooked. Maybe what happens instead is the real prize.
Originally, I planned my first post of spring to be either:
- A whole-house checklist of stuff I needed and/or wanted done, categorized into short-, mid-, and long-term; OR,
- A mini-refresh of our master bedroom to welcome longer, brighter, warmer days ahead.
But the bedroom change-out is still in process. I’ll share it eventually, but for now I’m still switching out this and that, completing DIY projects, and trying to decide about accent throw pillows (should I buy or make, and if I buy, which ones?).
And that checklist? Well, I did compile it–in table form, no less. The process even got me moving, so I’ve already checked off a few items–done and done! Yes, I admit, my lackadaisical grin (see sidebar photo, upper right) harbors an obsession for organization (and an addiction to office supplies).
My husband and I have been struggling with a personal health issue these last few months. Nothing life-threatening, so not to worry, but it has stopped me in my springing-into-spring tracks. I’m just not ready to let go of winter.
And, in case you didn’t notice in these photos, neither has winter let go.
As what’s REALLY important pushes its way onto my center stage, it has me thinking how all the expectations we pile on ourselves sometimes set us up for, not actually failing, but feeling like failures.
That’s what happens when we focus on doing and forget about simply being–being ourselves, being in between winter and spring, being in between one phase and the next. Being in the moment and in relationship with the universe around us.
So I halted my mad spring posting rush and took stock. And here’s what I want to share with you instead for this first post of spring–one of my favorite poems by one of my favorite poets:
by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean, blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—
over and over announcing our place
in the family of things.
Indiana’s first day of spring brought snow, as you might already have noticed in these photos. A dusting yesterday, then overnight a covering, which grows deeper with the day.
The wild geese aren’t honking, but they have been. They’re “back home again in Indiana,” as the song goes. But in their home homes–holed up in nests they smartly built while the sun shone, out of the way of a lingering winter, keeping warm, ready to honk another day.
And me? I found these daffodils three for $12 in the grocery store yesterday (I was out in the cold before the snow started!), in just the right size for these vintage West German flower pots. I found just the right flower, exactly when we needed them.
I had daffs by the dozens at our previous house. I planted maybe two dozen the fall after we moved in, divided them once a few years later, after which they took over the front flower bed, peeking through the shrubbery, crowding against the foundation of the house, porch and walk, and always blooming, nodding, laughing gaily, at a time of year when we needed it most.
Our house faced south, so the extra warmth always brought the daffodils out of the ground in February. And they bloomed early enough that I always worried the frost would nip them. But daffodils are tough little flowers. Not much of anything gets them down. No March snow or ice I saw EVER cut short their reign.
I need to keep that resilience in mind as I look at the snow that comes my way through their seemingly dainty nodding heads, listen for the geese and assume my place in the family of things.
Welcome, sweet Narcissus! Welcome, Lady Spring, in ALL her guises!
If you want more…
Enjoy this haunting, melancholy song about spring I’ve been playing and humming a lot lately. It certainly fits my mood of not feeling quite ready to tackle another spring, even though my love and I remain steadfast and true.
Words and music are by Fran Landesman and Tommy Wolf, respectively. Jane Monheit’s interpretation (above) is my favorite, but there are others to enjoy, all beautiful:
- Ella Fitzgerald (live video performance)
- Dianne Reeves (exceptionally haunting!)
- Barbra Streisand
- Sarah Vaughn
- Stan Getz and Albert Dailey (instrumental)
- Carmen McRae
- Betty Carter
- Mark Murphy