Spring, glorious spring!

“Let it rain on some days,
Let yourself shiver on some cold nights,
So when it’s Spring you’ll know why it was all worth going through.”
― Sanhita Baruah

After a snowier-than-usual winter, this week brought some sunny days, and with the first day of spring, a spring in my step as well. Sunshine will do that for you, when you live in a rain forest! 🙂

You’d think that in SE Alaska, snow would be common. You would be wrong, at least at sea level, and in this small region of the state. Rain is common, storms are common, but not snow. This year my boots got to walk all over town as I had the chance to wear them most days the past six weeks. I’ve turtle-necked my way through, and now, as April approaches,  I’m looking forward to shedding a layer or two. It will be nice to put away gloves and scarves, and walk out without the extras.

As winter leaves, I feel the flow of spring-time energy. I picked up a paint brush yesterday to freshen up a wall or two; such a simple thing, but exciting after a hiatus of tackling projects. Spreading color on the walls was therapeutic and nourishing, a visible illustration of what I felt happening in my spirit.

I’ve filled the pantry, and after two years of minimal cooking, I’m trying new things, dishing up old favorites, and using cookware that’s been out of sight and out of mind.

I’m reading again, books that speak to my heart, and some new finds prompting me to thought.

I’m thinking of the curious combination of spring strength and softness…the strength it takes for green leaves and tiny flowers to push into the sunlight and the softness of the  early morning sun on my face as I walk to work. I think about the strength it takes to keep moving and growing through all the phases of life and the softness of heart that comes with experience and age. (Sometimes hearts harden with age, but I’m choosing not to do that.)

Strength and softness: that’s the combination I want in my life. I love strength of spirit, will, and courage. I love the softness of kindness, generosity, and gentleness.

Spring reminds me that the harshness of winter is disappearing, and the sweetness of the next season is here.

Seasons exist in all realms of life, and seasons of energy, creativity, and accomplishment are no less real than the seasons of the calendar. Manifesting in different ways, the results are sometimes visible, sometimes not.

I’ve learned that human seasons rarely match up with the calendar. I’ve learned that sometimes you can push yourself into the next phase of life, and sometimes, like a flower waiting to bloom, you have to wait for your next season to arrive. Some things you just can’t hurry.

I’ve learned that you can’t force what isn’t ready. “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

When you’re ready for a new season, it will appear. In good time, but not before you’ve done the work to be ready to move forward.

The past couple of years have been quiet, times of growth and discovery. And those times are vital. All humans need time to percolate a bit, time to let life flow around and over, time to make sense of what was, what is, and what’s changed.

I sometimes call it wandering in the wilderness.

Good to do, but also good to come out of.

No epiphany required for the sunshine of springtime to remind me, it’s time to get busy. Time to paint, and plant an herb or two, and a flower or two, time to create in the kitchen, time to shift to a new season.

And while my hands are busy, it’s good to practice the values of strength and softness.

How about you? Are you feeling the pulse of springtime? Tell me about it? I’d love to know what spring sunshine prompts in you!

~ Sheila

Goodbye white shoes, I hardly wore you

September, Labor Day weekend, and my Southern upbringing has kicked in. I wouldn’t be caught dead from now until next Memorial Day in white shoes. Just.not.done. At least for my generation. (Maybe this is more about my age than where I was raised…or both? I’ll have to get back to you on that.)

Mind you, I have no idea where this fashion dictum came from, or how it became so firmly impressed on my young self. All I know is that to violate this rule was taboo in my youth, and whether or not it matters to the fashion police now (if it ever did), I’m obligated to live with this for the rest of my life. You’d think it was important or something. But if it is, I don’t know why.

But not knowing didn’t stop me from passing the white shoes rule on to my daughter. Really I expand this to summer clothes in general…the only possible exception being a tropical location where it’s always acceptable to wear white, whatever the season. (And who decided that? Another fashion mystery!)

Perhaps it’s fortunate for me that I live in a climate that actually encourages me to return to my September-to-May uniform of turtlenecks and heeled pumps. The summer slides are put away. They didn’t get too much wear-time this year anyway. Miserable summer season here. But the weather, at this point, is not the point: I couldn’t violate the calendar. Just can’t do it. My roots are showing!

There are things you leave behind when you move from one side of the country to another: regional produce, local customs, favorite eateries. Without any effort on my part, my Southern accent has mostly faded away from long years of disuse (although it revives a bit when I go back for a visit). But some things…the white shoes rule, for instance…follow me about from place to place, a passenger in my head, mostly forgotten, but somehow silently monitoring the calendar, and then, ca-ching, like my oven timer, a bell goes off internally to remind me of The Rule. The same thing will happen Memorial Day…my Southern self will wake up, reminding me, nudging me. Change of seasons, change of shoes.