What’s Blooming in You?

bulbs three

The garden is bursting forth with blooming bulbs. Spring, it seems, has finally arrived!

I love bulbs, for lots of reasons. They give us color when there is very little color in anything else in the garden. They’re a source of early nectar for the honey bees. They look cheerful. But, more than anything else, I love them for their ability to push up through the hard-caked, frozen ground of late winter.

These blossoms herald a changing of seasons and give us all hope for a new, robust, verdant tomorrow.

It will be a while before anything else blooms, and it will even be a few weeks before most of the trees will leaf out. In the meantime, we can be uplifted by the joy that the blooming bulbs bring.

Part of me can relate to the bulbs. Sometimes there will be a few months where things in my life feel kind of slow. There isn’t much happening creatively. It’s almost as if things needed to rest, or perhaps the next creative activity is incubating, and I just can’t see it yet.

During those times, I take heart from the bulbs. It helps me to see their cycles, and to appreciate the inevitability of their growth. All I need to do is to remember the joy I feel when I see those first green shoots starting to push out of the ground after a long, grey winter, and I remember. That we are all inherently, and naturally, creative beings.

What is blooming in you?











The Turning of the Season

crane migration too

The Sandhill Cranes are flying North. This is a sure sign of the turning of the season.

We don’t know how they know, but they do know when to return to their Northern breeding grounds, which are far North of here.

I always love seeing them. They are one of the signs of hope and promise of the new season, for me. They are heralds of hope and new growth. They represent the new and the renewed.

The cranes are a tonic for my soul that has been buried in the underground of dormancy and incubation for months now.

They are a call to return to the possibility of the new, even though I may not know what it is, yet.

They are a call to pay attention to what might be awakening from the dormancy, deep within.

Now is the time to pay attention.

What are you paying attention to?

The Back and Forth Time

snowdrops ice

The snowdrops have poked up through the frozen ground, the snow and ice, and are the first sign of new green growth this year. I am always thrilled to see them.

But they are also a mystery to me. How do they push through frozen ground? How do they survive in sub zero F temperatures? They make me nervous, because I always wonder if they will live through the ravages that Winter still has in store for us.

They are a paradox, and they come up in Back and Forth Time.

Back and Forth Time is that time when the seasons start to turn.

One day it feels like Spring. Then, the next day, the wind and snow blow back in, and there is another blizzard, and it feels like Spring will never come.

I realize that Back and Forth Time is a powerful metaphor for me, about my life.

It’s when the Old isn’t quite done with me, and the New isn’t quite fully ready for me yet, or even visible.

So I get days when I am living out the Old, and days when I get glimpses of the New, but the New is only a glimpse and a vague feeling. The bread crumb trail is sparse, scattered, and sporadic.

I don’t know why, after all of the changes that I have experienced in my life, that I still expect change to move at a smooth, steady pace forward. I wonder why I think that the bread crumb trail will be clear and robust, rather than off-again, on-again.

I need to remember that when the New is just barely starting to awaken, I am in a Back and Forth Time.

The call is to be patient, to be an explorer, and to remain curious and awake, to trust the awakening and the aliveness in it.

I need to trust that it will eventually gain momentum and carry me forward.

Nature can help me with this. Nature, in its seemingly capricious Winter to Spring mood, reminds me that I am in a Back and Forth Time, and that I will have Back and Forth Days.

How do you want to be, in Back and Forth Time?




That First Day

sunrise pink blue

Today is that very first day of the year that has “Spring-ness” in it.

It’s a magical day, and there’s only one of them each year. Everyone who lives in the Cold Country knows that, and has lived it.

It isn’t a day on the calendar, and there is no predicting when it will come. It arrives spontaneously, and sometimes when you least expect it. That’s one of the things that I love about it.

It’s that day when you suddenly feel, in your bones, that Spring is inevitable. Spring may still be far away, but the quality of the day grabs and pulls on a memory from deep within.

There have been lots of days this winter in the 40’s F, but none of them has had the feeling of Spring in them. This one does.

On this First Day, the sun is just high enough in the sky that it makes you know the turning of the season. It feels on the warm side of Winter.

When you take a deep breath, you breathe in warmth, and promise, and excitement.

Everyone has come out of their caves, and they are enjoying the freshness and hope of the day. They are walking their dogs. They’re cleaning up in the yard. They’re organizing their garages. They are preparing for the time when Spring projects will be absolutely compelling again.

Tomorrow, it will probably turn back to Winter-ness. The weather is notoriously capricious this time of year. It is a tease.

But we will never lose today, because now we know, again, the reality of Spring. Our faith has been renewed. There is no going back from here.

I just love that First Day.

What helps you know the promise of Spring?

The Gift of Wood Smoke

full moon wood smoke

I walked out into the crisp cold Winter night and smelled the wood smoke. Our neighbors heat with wood, and when the wind is in the right direction, the scent of wood smoke drifts over to our house.

The smell of wood smoke says Cozy to me. It says Warm. It says Home.

In the fall, when I first smell wood smoke, it reminds me that Winter is not far off, and that I need to start doing all the things we do to prepare for Winter. I close down the screened porch, and batten down the hatches. I take down and clean the bird houses. I dig out the snow shovels and put away all the garden tools.

Now, the smell of wood smoke is an invitation to savor Winter. I want to savor the cold crisp days and the cozy container of home.

I want to enjoy the rhythm of Winter. It is a slower pace, and sometimes in Winter, I give myself permission for a slower pace.

I like to pay attention to the rhythms of nature. I feel like there is a lot of wisdom in the ebbs and flows of natural rhythms.

Winter is an ebb, even though it can have a fierce power, Winter is an ebb that is preparing for the flow of Springtime.

As I smell the wood smoke, I realize that something deep inside of me still needs the rest, the pulling back, the slower pace and rhythm of Winter.

I appreciate this time. I need to savor it, before the season turns to a busier pace and rhythm.

I am asking myself: What still needs doing in this time of slower rhythm?

And I ask you, too: What do you still want to do, in the quieter pace of Winter?


Stillness and Waiting

calm night

Stillness in Winter feels different to me than in any other season. It is deeper somehow.

Everything is resting.

Everything is waiting.

I have that feeling of dormancy, a very purposeful and productive waiting.

Even the questions aren’t being answered.

I am called to just be in the stillness, to somehow just be in the stillness and the calm.

Nature knows when it is time to work, and when it is time to rest.

Something within me knows too.

What is it time for, for you?



Playing Hide and Seek with the Moon

hide and seek moon one

Harper and I are again walking at dusk. It is a mild Winter night, around 20 degrees F, snowing lightly and softly. I am so grateful for walking again, after a spell of brutally cold weather which was not fit for woman nor beast.

We get to a forested area, and when I look up, an almost-full moon is peeking out from some clouds. It is visible just over the top of the trees.

I can see that it is almost full, and I long to get another glimpse of it, but the clouds come in and cover it up.

Harper and I continue. It is such a nice night, that we walk longer and farther than I had expected we would. The walk is giving my mind an opportunity to clear, and to rest. All I need do for right now is to steer us safely through the snow.

The moon peeks out from the clouds just briefly as we walk through the yard of the long-ago closed-school.  The yard is blessedly desolate during this time of the year.

We walk down a street with a few houses, and they are quiet, too.

The more I walk, the more I want to walk, but it is getting dark, and I’ve forgotten the flashlight, so we turn towards home.

As we do, I turn to look behind us, to the East, and there is the moon, full, in all its glory. The thick clouds have left the sky. It is absolutely still, and I stop to take in the beauty of the scene. My soul craves this stillness.

hide and seek two

The full moon reminds me of the beauty in the cycles in nature. There is fullness and emptiness, or darkness. There is waxing and waning. Nature is always going through cycles.

We all also go through these cycles, even if they may not be as clearly noticeable as the phases of the moon. Our own creativity waxes and wanes. Our spirits go through periods of feeling full, and feeling empty or dark.

The moon helps me remember that no matter where I am in the cycle, change and transformation is afoot. Heraclitus said “The only constant is change.”

What is changing in your life?

A Quiet Beauty

quiet beauty

It is the day after a violent sleet-snow blizzard, and it is utterly quiet.

I breathe in the stillness, and appreciate how nature has settled into a silent reverie.

In stark contrast to yesterday’s bedlam. the snow is a meditation of white, wonder, and awe.

It feels like everything is at ease.

Yesterday, I was standing in this very same spot, as the 50 mph winds howled with what felt like menace. The sleet was beating on my face relentlessly. The road disappeared and left behind a flurry of disorientation.

Today, I settle in, too, and as I do, I begin to take in the beauty of the landscape.

I often fail to appreciate the depth of beauty in winter, but today it is undeniable. The subtle shades of browns and greys lend a complexity to the land that takes my breath away.

The variety of shapes, colors, and textures, in the most ordinary of landscapes, is stunning.

It is like all of nature’s winter beauty has come out to show itself, after being in tumult, and hiding, yesterday.

Nature is such a lesson in impermanence.

It is also a reminder of cycles.

Like nature, we all live in natural cycles of waxing and waning. Our own creativity consists of bursts of activity, and then quiet, dormancy, incubation.

I am reminded of how I often expect myself to just keep going at a steady pace. This determination to keep plodding on is an unrealistic, and unfair, expectation. Nature teaches us this.

As I walk along in the calm tranquility, I wonder: what would be possible if I learned to sense the ebb and flow of my own natural rhythms, and, even more importantly, I respected them?

What would it be like for you, if you respected your natural rhythms?









Scattering Seeds

milkweed pod

Today I was out scattering seeds on my land.

I gathered these seeds in the prairie. I’m sending them off with wishes that some of them take root next Spring, in the abundance of sun and rain that will be available to them then.

I marvel at how each variety of seed looks so different. The varieties of texture and size and color are incredible.

Each seed, however tiny, has in it the intelligence to guide it to full fruition. It knows what it is to be and it has a pathway to get there.

Like the seed, we have intelligence deep within us, to guide us along our way.

For years, I doubted this, because I couldn’t reliably access it. I’d receive intuition and inspiration occasionally, but, honestly, it seemed a bit arbitrary and capricious. Kind of like a friend that you couldn’t count on to be there for you. My guidance seemed to come and go at its whim.

Our inner essence knows what we need to know, in order to grow and to create, and to thrive. Our bit is to learn how to tune into that intelligence within. I’m guessing that this is something that the seed doesn’t have to give much thought to, but we humans have a lot of distractions to cope with.

My inner wisdom seems to move at an altogether different rhythm and pace than I do. So, first, I need to entrain to its rhythm by meditating or doing some slow breathing.

My inner intelligence seems to share what it wants me to hear, rather than what I want to know. I need to be open and receptive to whatever might arise from within, rather than what I think it should tell me.

And, I need to be sincere in my invitation and intention. It helps me to surrender to the wisdom, and to allow to come whatever is meant to come into my awareness in that moment. Being curious helps me be open and sincere.

So I just tune in and ask, with a sincere heart: What do I need to know, right now?

It could not be simpler, but I find that it isn’t always easy to shed all of what I bring to the process, so that I can be an open, clear receptive field of listening. I want to be like the land, open and receptive to the fertile seeds taking root.

Take a moment to breathe deeply. What does your inner wisdom want you to know right now?

Beauty and Dignity

beauty dignity

I look at this tree and see beauty, strength, and dignity.

This tree lived a long time. Probably not a hundred years, like the oaks on this land, but a long time. When I look at it now, I see its history. I think of the many years of growth, and green, and colors changing in the fall.

This tree stands like a sentry at the edge of the prairie. It has stood in many winters, exposed to the blasting winds and snow that sweep down this hill. It has stood for cycle after cycle.

I feel like we can learn a lot from trees, about the cycles of life that are similar to our cycles. Sometimes we feel like we are in dormancy, like something is incubating, and all there is to do is to wait. This is always hard for me to do, but it isn’t hard for the tree.

And then there is growth, and production, and harvest, when the tree is a real work horse. The tree teaches me about sustainability in this cycle.

There is much for the tree to teach me about letting go. In the Autumn, the leaves fall easily from the tree. I could learn about letting go, with ease, and making way for the next cycle of growth.

But most of all now, I feel like this tree can teach me about aging with beauty, and strength, and dignity. This is what I am looking to learn these days, and when I look at this tree, standing alone, I feel this tree radiating these qualities.

It is beautiful and strong, regardless. That is what I want to be.

What do you learn from trees?


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