It's my favorite time of year: Spring!! I was a Spring baby - born in April. A very proud Aries (with the tattoo to prove it)! It is this time of year that I come alive. I love all of the green and purple and red and yellow and pink that is popping out everywhere. All of my irises, jonquils, buttercups, crossvines and redbud trees are in full bloom. The bees are busy buzzing around, the birds are singing, the woodpeckers are pecking away and the squirrels are running up and down the trees. Spring is here!
Today, at Pathways UU, where I attend, we had our labyrinth walk (something that is done 4 times a year when the earth changes seasons). The labyrinth has become an important message in the life of Pathways - a time of reflection, a time of focus, a time of energizing. While some were walking the labyrinth others were focusing their energies playing drums, tambourines, and other noisemakers to cheer in the season.
As we experience Spring and exercises such as the labyrinth, it gives us a new opportunity to stop and reflect on our path or our journey. It gives us an opportunity to reflect on new growth in our spiritual lives, our personal lives, our careers, new experiences, and the like.
One of the areas that I am usually called to is working in my yard. I grew up in the country (and I do mean country!) where we lived on about 5 acres of land with about 2 acres that was our vegetable garden. One of the memories I have of my childhood home are all of the flowers that mother planted everywhere. Along the property line along the lane on the outset of the fence my mother planted all different colors of irises. Up near the house in the flower beds she had a mixture of spider mums, lilies, and roses. Driving into our property we had two large bricked columns where mother had planted beautiful rose bushes. Every Spring when I start working in the yard my mind always takes me back to where I grew up.
Working with the dirt, planting new plants and flowers, fertilizing the soil, finding new life (like bugs and lizards) - it is all very prayerful to me. There is a deep connection that I have with it all. There is something about this work that puts me in a particular state of obedience, a reverence, as if I am entering the great sanctuary of Life - doing my part to bring nurturing care to each element. Working in the yard is not easy work. It is tiring, it is messy, your clothes get dirty and you sweat - a lot. Especially here in Texas (here it is the last week of March and the temperatures are already in the upper 80s).
Today I worked in the front yard trimming the shrubs that line the front of our house. I did a lot of cuttings, removing a lot of extra growth. I cleaned out the flower beds that had a lot of small leaves left over from the autumn and winter that were hanging on tight to the dirt below the shrubbery. I removed old yard ornaments, such as the globes that light up at night that have stopped working. I removed the things that were hindering new growth.
Spring gives us that opportunity - to prune, to dig in the soil, to plant, to prepare, to see life. Spring gives us the opportunity to clean out flower bed and get ready for new plants to be added. Spring gives us the opportunity to fix up new areas. It's a time of Life. It's a time of Growth. It's a time of Newness. It's a time of New Growth in various areas of our lives.
It reminds me of the Spring hymn that starts:
Now the green blade rises from the buried grain,
Wheat that in the dark earth many years has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.
Spring is the rising of the green blade after it has been dormant during the Winter. The lesson is that even though we may have felt dead in certain areas in our life, we have so many opportunities for new growth, new life.
As you ponder about Spring and revel in the colors, the sounds, the activities - use this as a time to reflect on the areas of growth taking place in your life. Or use this as a time to plan for what areas of growth you would like to see rise up like a green blade from deep in the earth. What seeds would you like to plant?
As Spring comes to greet us, I wish each of you a blessed season filled with new opportunities and new growth.