Winter’s ice and snow are melting. The dripping has felt constant for a week. Even after the roof had melted, I could still hear drips. They seemed to come from above and below. As the hard earth began to thaw, it became pillowy and spongy. Each step on this super-saturated ground caused bubbles and moisture to rise next to my feet. The water displaced by the weight of my body needed somewhere else to go. While I could see the water that rose to the surface, finding room in the spaces above, I imagined that other droplets were pressed deeper into the earth.
Yesterday was foggy. The air, like the earth, felt super-saturated. I waited for it to lift just enough that I would still be able to see Karma as she ran ahead of me. It was my first morning walk in the field since foot surgery in January and I felt like I was reconnecting with old friends as I walked slowly through the orchard and along the line of oak trees to the north. I was caught somewhere between laughter and tears; I had forgotten how much I had missed this morning ritual.
A drop of condensation fell from a high oak and into my coffee cup, making a delightful, robust sound and a big clear bubble on the surface of my black coffee. What are the chances? I gave into the laughter and spoke a greeting to the oak, grateful for the playful welcome back.
Later that morning, I gave into my own super-saturation in a conversation with a friend. We meet bi-weekly as spiritual companions to one another, intentionally carving out time and space to take turns listening deeply to one another, a simple practice with profound impact. As I began to speak, it quickly became clear that I, like the earth, was super-saturated. I didn’t have the capacity to hold any more frustration, hurt, sadness, or overwhelm, and the tears and words flowed freely. Thirty minutes later, I was a sponge that had been wrung out — weary, relieved, and ready to absorb again. But before we parted ways, my friend asked some thought-provoking questions.
When was the last time you played?
How are you going to take care of yourself?
Her questions helped me notice that, in that moment, though I had felt some capacity returning, I was still depleted and would bring myself right back to the brink in minutes if I did not pay attention. I was stuck in a pattern of allowing too much in, and of holding it too closely for too long. In my desire to be of service to others, I had forgotten to be of service to myself. I needed to bring renewed intention and energy to caring for my own emotional, physical, and spiritual health.
That afternoon, I took a walk in the forest and let it all sink in. I now had room to let in the healing energy that my overwhelmed body and mind had inadvertently been keeping out. I took longer, deeper breaths. Time expanded. The sights, sounds, and smells of spring rushed into my awareness. Renewal was all around me and within me. Dipping my hands in the creek, I anointed my hands, head, and heart, setting an intention to ensure that, along with the rest of Creation, I too shall be renewed in this season.
This weekend, we celebrate the Vernal Equinox. In the northern hemisphere, the balance between light and dark and the rising temperatures will usher in an extended period of growth – eventually. In the little corner of Maine where I live, there is still plenty of thawing and drying out to do first. This is the slow, subtle preparation phase of the growing season – and today we will get a rainstorm. The puddles will fill, the creek will rise and I will go to the forest to accompany the overflow and release. I will give thanks for cycles, for movement, for healing waters, and for human and non-human companions.
May the turning toward the light at this equinox be a movement towards balance in our hearts and in our lives, that we may be a blessing to others.