Winter is my time for introspection. When I observe the inner, which generally makes me move and think and talk more slowly. Spring is a welcome balance. The time for outer observation, when I gladly soak in the ephemeral beauty of the season.
I treasure spring because it has more shapes and sizes and colors than any other time of year—the highest diversity in the shortest span. What I notice each spring depends on a lot of environmental variables: temperature, weather, the hardiness required to survive intense wind or rain.
This year, spring was particularly impermanent. The polar vortex was veeeeerrrrrry slow to retreat—by my description, throwing a tantrum about its turn ending. Consequently, many delicate signs of spring had an even shorter turn amidst late cold snaps after flowers budded. Cherry blossoms lasted less than a week, for example.
So there was much less to view than normal. Then I realized that just because a lot of springtime blooms at easy eye level, there are other things to view if I lift my chin to look up.
Oh. So there are long tendrils of wisteria EVERYWHERE. I realized 2 things. First, that there was much less to view only on lower levels. Also, I should look up more often—since I never noticed the wisteria until most of the other flowers had disappeared.
I need that reminder, given that I have weathered many seasons in Atlanta. More than half my life has unfolded in this city, and as such, I, both jaded and arrogant, can assume I have seen everything in my hometown.
And yet, there is always something new. Several springs ago, I had a similar situation to this year’s wisteria. That time, Japanese magnolias bloomed earlier than everything else. Somehow, in all my Atlanta springs, I had overlooked the huge, purple-framed white flowers. Similarly, I have no recollection from my youth of ornamental cherry trees. But in the first spring after I lived in Japan, I realized that Atlanta has tons of them. And yet I first associated them with Japan, though all that time they had been in my hometown, unnoticed.
I need the reminder to look up more often on a macro scale as well. Transcend the details, the day-to-day, and acknowledge the what is more meaningful. Stop being annoyed at doing laundry and instead be grateful to have plenty of clothing to wash. Not feeling frustrated about lacking ingredients for a certain recipe and instead recognize my well-stocked kitchen.
So, thank you, spring, not just for beauty, but the reminder that even in scarcity we can find abundance.
SK © 2014