Early this week, I was watching blossoms unfurl on the plum tree. I checked the tight green buds eagerly each day, anticipating the grand display of flowers to come. Slowly, they began to open. But instead of a grand display, it has been a slow unveiling. Each blossom is an individual with a timeframe of its own, a potential that will unfold at the right time, no sooner or later.
I notice how, like the blossoms, I am unfolding very slowly to this season, only risking exposure in bits. Perhaps the plum tree’s rhythm protects the harvest from early frost that could damage the earliest bloomers. I wonder what my slow caution is protecting me from? After quietly nurturing projects and inspirations through the winter, spring would be the right time for them to explode onto the scene with color and vibrancy. The symbolism is inviting, but the reality is much more complicated. Opening too much heart or imagination too quickly feels risky. There is so much potential in front of me and each opportunity promises (or threatens) to open more doors. How much can I take on and how far out can I step?
This is not really a question I need to answer intellectually. My body offers all of the answers. At times it offers energy and inspiration; that’s when I work and play. At other times, I am completely depleted, unable to act against the lethargy in my body or mind; that is when I slow down, take stock and sleep longer. Paying attention to these natural inclinations to work, play and rest, I can see that my cycle of opening into this new season is disciplined and steady, like that of the plum tree. That observation and kinship sparks new patience for my pace. It kindles a compassionate reminder to let go of my waiting and urgency and to simply pay attention to what is real and present in each moment, both within and around me.
Today, the plum tree is in full bloom. Each individual blossom has opened and their collective beauty is jaw-dropping. Dozens of bees are collecting and sharing pollen from flower to flower, branch to branch, and tree to tree. There will be fruit this year — and it will come in due time.