Tiny tender reddish leaves appear on our blaze maple tree. Daffodils add patches of bright yellow to our barely awake garden. Tulip leaves poke through the soil with a promise of flowers to follow. Spring is a season of promise.
A full pink moon appears on April 26th. It is named for Spring’s earliest widespread pink flowers, the wild ground phlox. Native Americans gave each full moon a name. The names can vary by geographic area and reflect what is happening when each full moon appears. This noticing and naming reflects a deep connection to Earth’s seasonal dance.
Each season has a particular energy. Winter is a quiet season. Most growth happens out of sight. We close windows, bundle up, and are generally less active. In Spring we open windows, peel off heavy layers of clothing and become more active. Springtime we scatter seeds that grow in Summer to be harvested in Autumn.
However, this is a Spring like no other I have known. We are coming out of our Winter cocoons at the same time many are emerging from pandemic hibernation. Like Winter, the pandemic has drawn us inside. For some of us it has meant schooling and working from home. For most, our contact with others is dramatically different.
Life will soon resume another rhythm. We will have more freedom to move around. Don and I will return to our regular walking group at the Arboretum. The group has been together for forty years. I can hardly wait to be with them. My hungry arms long to embrace so many family and friends. I imagine being on a hugging binge very soon.
To be out in the world also increases life’s complexities.
A calendar free of “social obligations” will begin to fill. How will we decide what to accept or reject? Several women have told me they enjoy not needing to attend some unsatisfying gatherings. They are now reconsidering what they will say yes to in the future.
To tell you the truth, my prayer is that we learn to maintain a slower pace. This is not a perfect time by any means, but the shift in how we spend our days has shown many of us that our previous pace was unhealthy. For some, busyness masked an emptiness that has now been revealed.
Just like seasons, cultures have rhythms. Our culture has a strong “get something done” vibe. We are taught that Idleness is a sin. Charlie Ambler in a Daily Zen article entitled Against Productivity writes, “The belief that life is all about productivity is a misguided attempt to fuel fake progress, produce more material value, and keep people in the cycle of production and consumption.”
A profound pandemic pause has allowed many of us to question our membership in the cult of productivity. Most, not all of us, say we enjoy a slower pace. Before we rejoin the rapid pace of pre-pandemic life can we stop and notice?
What brings us joy?
What depletes our energy?
What gives life meaning?
Can we remember that a full calendar does not equal a full life?