Saturday, March 21, 2020

When Spring Returns . . .

. . . a festival of life abounds

This past Thursday (March 19) saw the spring equinox take place in that part of the world where I live. Also called the March equinox or vernal equinox, this event marks the astronomical first day of spring here in the northern hemisphere.

Given all that's going on in the world, especially in terms of the coronavirus pandemic, it seems all the more vital to be reminded of and celebrate the return of spring and all the hopeful things it signifies, both in nature and in our hearts.

For as my friend Andrea so beautifully writes: “When it seems as if nothing is the same, that everything is changing, as if there is no solid ground beneath you, take a deeper look. The birds are coming back to their summer homes, the lake ice is melting, the sun continues to rise and set in a predicable rhythm of grace. Regular life is still happening. Look beyond your (very normal) fear into the depths of your own heart. There you find stability. In that place, find peace. See grace. And out of THAT heart space of stability, peace and grace . . . live.”

And so in this spirit of invitation to live from the heart space of stability, peace and grace, I celebrate the return of spring today by sharing an excerpt from Joyce Rupp and Marcrina Wiederkehr's wonderful book, The Circle of Life: The Heart's Journey Through the Seasons. Accompanying this excerpt are images of dancer Calvin Royal III, photographed by Ken Browar and Deborah Ory. Enjoy!

When the season of spring returns to the land, a festival of life and light abounds. Suddenly, there are longer days of sunlight, earlier dawns, later sunsets. Earth sails along in her faithful rotation. With each cycle, she leans in closer to the light and heat of the life-giving sun. What once appeared dead begins to stir. Each wintered thing wakes up, raises its drowsy head, and stiffs the air to confirm the truth of spring's arrival. The slow pace of winter is left behind and there is a surge of invigorating activity for humans, creatures, and vegetation. . . . Vibrancy and fresh beginnings of growth are what dominate spring. These lively energies awaken and move through the heart of creation.

The human spirit also experiences seasons of springtime. The periods of depression and discouragement that visit our inner landscape do not last forever. Like walls of sunlight breaking through storm clouds, currents of hope flow through the dark walls of despondency. Blessings arise as new growth takes place.

. . . In the heart's springtime, the inner self awakens. Seeds of growth, hidden in the midst of winter's bleakness, germinate and sprout. That which has been longed for and greatly desired is gradually brought forth and heralded with gladness. Visions, dreams, and yearnings for the future unfold. The gray moods, the frozen love, the sorrow and grief, the overwhelming angst, the dread and depression, all this slowly slips away as trust and enthusiasm rejuvenate the wintered spirit. Like the springtime land, so the inner land is thawed and re-energized. A sense of loving and being loved warms the interior places that were cold and dormant in wintertime.

The emotional clutter and the old debris that prevented clear thinking are cleansed. Spaciousness and openness expand like the wings of a great swan. Inner freedom is discovered. Confidence returns. Creative endeavors begin to emerge. Like the songbirds chirping as they return from the south, the heart begins to sing again.

. . . In this season of the soul, there is awe and wonder at the changes taking place. Spring generates surprise, delight, unmitigated joy, and newly found optimism. Now is the time to enjoy what is emerging from within, to savor the taste of hope, and to trust in what the future promises. It is the time to believe in growth and to give oneself to it wholeheartedly.

– Joyce Rupp and Macrina Wiederkehr
From The Circle of Life: The Heart's Journey Through the Seasons
Sorin Books, 2005
pp. 65-67

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
A Day Both Holy and Magical
Following the Footprints of Spring
O Dancer of Creation
Spring: Truly the Season for Joy and Hope
Welcoming the Return of Spring (2018)
Spring's Snowy Start
The Spring Blizzard of 2018
Celebrating the Return of Spring (2017)
A New Day
Dreaming of Spring
Waiting in Repose for Spring's Awakening Kiss
Let the Greening Begin
Green Destiny
In the Footsteps of Spring

Images: Calvin Royal III, photographed by Ken Browar and Deborah Ory.

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