Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring Fling

My face is burned from a weekend of sun on snow, crystalline and corn; the sky brilliant blue. The ground sheds its color of white, dirty with mud, but ripe with life. Bikes and runners clog the pathways. The carwash has a waiting line.

Talk among the locals is of how many gallons of sap are running, sugar shacks smoking with the smell of boiling syrup. From a farmhouse porch under the late afternoon warmth, a small party raises their glass to every car passing by. Spring overpowers winter’s weakening grip.

A month ago, the bitter air thick with snow, my legs just beginning to regain their confidence after so many years of not skiing, I was happy to embrace the life of cold, wind-driven runs and comforting hot-chocolate. Two weeks ago, I wistfully marked the moment when winter accumulated its full depth and sadly began to recede, thinking how sad it was melting so soon.

Today, long before the sleepy brown landscape bursts to green, when there are still markers everywhere to proclaim the dawning of spring, my heart soars.

In Oregon, I remember seasonal changes more subtly: mild transitions that sometimes made it hard to remember if we were heading to or away from Christmas. Summer reached a sweltering moment and winter cooled to a rare snow on the coast, but mostly the seasons swiveled moderately and mildly. Vermont is nothing if not clear in its definition of seasons.

One earns their spring here. The effort it takes day in and day out to scrape off the car, navigate the icy sidewalks, track your mittens and hat, the constant hard work to stay warm makes the bare head and gloveless hands magnificent. The shedding of jackets and baring of shoulders is like the unwrapping of a present: delightful and exquisite.

And like the rebirth of color bursting forth from trees and garden beds, heralding new life, spring revives the hopes and dreams within us that through the long dreary months have seemed to merely survive. Our visions breathe with new life revitalized, our energies richer for the time spent in dormancy, our journeys percolating within.

A year ago, I could barely sleep alone, the rattle of fear so loud that such a strange and unchartered life loomed before me. The dust of my apartment renovation rose thick and swirling to blur the confusion of my transition from one life to another, grounding me to a specific task, even as my heart beat rampantly, conjuring the many possibilities. The disorientation was alarming to me while I boldly boasted of my confidence.

Today, I pause to wonder. Proclaiming last year the need to hear my own voice, what has surfaced are the same sounds evident years ago when I was young and first stepping forward on my path: I ski and play soccer; I write and play music. Although hardly practicing any of these through most of my adult years, sidetracked by relationships and the choices of living, in each today, I feel stronger than ever before. The time away has not squandered these passions, but actually revived them with more powerful and focused expression.

Where I felt forced to abandon these parts of my personality for the higher purpose of making a living and supporting my families, my inner self fell into a sort of sleep, a winterlike somnambulance where the wind howled, avalanches cascaded and devastated, and my soul lived in darkness where evil spirited vices reigned over common sense. Now embracing the activities I love, this week I earned from them the very money I needed to pay my bills for the week. Feeding my soul put enough food on the table, gas in the car, and electricity in the computer to communicate with the world.

The energy of Youth is a sweet and enviable force, so vital and pure, but naive and slippery all the same. Fitful and unfaithful, it is liable to flit and dance about, vulnerable to being consumed in bursts of exploration and lost to wasteful distractions.

Maturity, I have learned, harnesses the emotion and—like water through a dam—energizes the flow, multiplying the power. Wisdom and experience create the ability to appreciate the value of time, understand the importance of integrity, the limitations of life, and the urgency of the moment.

Gifts—no matter how precious—are to be shared. No one of us is better than another. We each are given our lives and allowed to find our ways. Joining hands or standing apart, still we are connected, impacting our small space (our homes, our neighborhoods, our little Earth), sharing ourselves with each other and comforting those around us. Once we recognize the voice within us, we are unable to sit in silence, but sing forth loudly and freely like the birds on a fresh spring morning, or the geese returning home.

Please share with your friends


laughingirl said...

Kip- The turn of seasons always surprises me. I especially like the way you put it in you paragraph beginning "One earns their spring here." This entry was worth the wait.

Hayden Tompkins said...

Lovely. And I am thrilled beyond words that you are earning money for doing what you love!

Laurie said...

YEAH! Paying the bills with your gifts! That is incredible Kip! You rock!

Now on to the post as a whole....INCREDIBLE...
This is one of the best written pieces I have read of anyone's. The way you link the changing seasons with the season of heart is still recovering. This is so lovely Kip. Your so very gifted my friend.