I find myself grateful for spring this year as it coincides with my transition from corporate constraints to self-employed freedom (a.k.a. more time for pots, hikes, helping people and everything else I love). Everything seems possible in spring. Yet change is also frightening. To avoid the fear spinning out of control, I find myself practicing lots of mindfulness. This has meant paying particular attention to the seasonal changes around me. Without the time for pottery – my usual grounding force – I am drawn to the changes that are going on around me.
I grew up in the land of perpetual sunshine. San Diego, specifically. While certainly a nice place to live, the consistency of the weather was never my favorite feature. I don’t know if it was a past life or all the books I read as a kid (which took place in climates with distinct seasons), but I have always loved the seasons. There are no seasons to speak of in San Diego.
While winter can seem to drag on (even in the temperate Mid-Atlantic), I find myself – ten years after transplanting to the East Coast – still marveling at the symphony of spring. Friday afternoon, I watched with awe, the pair of blue jays making a nest in the crook of our cherry tree. They camp in this spot every year. Soon the mourning dove will be nesting on the kiwi.
While loading the car Saturday morning to go to the Ballston Arts and Crafts Market, I stopped what I was doing. The birds were chirping and calling and singing, filling the air with a wonderful chorus that took my breath away. I don’t recall a similar chorus in my childhood. Were the birds not as happy in San Diego? Maybe they too were bored of the same old weather every day.
Yesterday morning, as I pulled out of my driveway, I caught a glimpse of my neighbor’s red bud beginning to bloom. Southern California doesn’t have redbuds. I was mesmerized at the brilliant color during my first spring here, and am still amazed that nature can produce a color like that. The fuchsia of the red bud was a great contrast to the cherry tree half a block later whose fading petals were mostly gone, revealing the infant green leaves. I think of the fading life of day jobs and paychecks. I wonder aloud, “will my new life as coach/studio potter be as bright and vibrant as the red bud.”
While the temperatures don’t seem to denote spring (standing for seven hours in low 40 degree dreary weather on Saturday greeting customers, made me wonder if it really was spring), the sights and sounds certainly do. Soon the conductor will bring in the scents. As I crawled into the car, I noticed our lilac is just beginning to burst forth. Oh. Oh. And the dogwoods are just starting to bloom. They are my favorite.
With the return of the flowers, I also returned to the studio. I’m not yet making, just teaching. But in the next few weeks, as that former life fades into memory like the cherry blossoms, I look forward to the days ahead where my income is the direct result of my labor and the redbuds signal a new and bright future.
For my regular readers, I assure you I will shortly return to our regular programing of pots and more pots. But as you know, I love to wax poetic and get philosophical on occasion. This creative bug has been sparked by a recent trip to Kripalu for a writing workshop with Nancy Slonim Aronie. I hope you will stay tuned as I stretch this other side of my creative self.