Yesterday I felt inspired to get out with my camera and look for signs of spring in the bushes and trees. The day’s temp was around 40 and there was little wind. That’s about all that’s required right now for us to celebrate with an outing. I’ve mentioned my love of trees in my past couple of posts and I’ll admit I’ve really enjoyed the look of the bare branches of the winter season, my first here. I’m drawn to the phrase, “bare bones,” it’s meaning of getting to the bottom of things, to the truth or the essence of something. I enjoy the clear lines of a winter tree, the way they can seem like fingers of the human hand reaching out. I like the clarity of branches growing out from the trunk of the tree and I sometimes imagine the roots are doing something similar underground.
We still have patches of snow in the backyard in the shady areas. And of course someone who has lived her a long time will tell you there have been blizzards in April, warning you not to get too comfortable with the idea that spring weather is here for certain. Still, as they say it seems the “back of winter” has been broken. I’m generally a healthy and good-tempered person but the confinement I felt this winter was a real test to my patience and amiability. Up until a couple of months ago I seemed able to view living the way I’ve chosen for now, in a house with other people, had it plusses and minuses and the two sides seem to balance out. But I began to feel trapped and easily annoyed by the environment in general. I know myself well enough to not lose hope that a better, more uplifting energy would return. That seems to be the case of late and what a relief!
I am an astrologer and I post a monthly astrology blog each New Moon. I like to remind myself and others that the cycle of each year repeats itself in a meaningful way. Winter has its positive value, particularly as a time to go within, to slow down, to investigate the dark places in ourselves. After this winter’s experience I feel closer to what I’ve called “the Fruitful Darkness.” I won’t go on about what I’ve discovered about myself, but as I type this I can acknowledge a kind of exhilaration arising in me, surely a sense of surviving a challenge. I guess it’s similar to the way we feel when we see we’ve recovered from an illness or an injury. We are BACK! And why not celebrate with gratitude and anticipation for the explosion of beauty to come.
I did find some flowers peeking out from the rubble of leaves just uncovered by melting snow. These were in my own backyard just outside the door we use to go there. I had taken the previous photos earlier and never saw any flowers, so it was a kind of last-minute bit of luck. Again, I’m sure they have a name but it escapes me. All I can think of is “crocus” but they don’t seem to quite measure up with my mental picture of that. But there will be plenty more great flowers to photograph ahead and warm weather to encourage me to get out and find them.
This is a photo I took a month ago from the backyard looking west to the neighbor’s house. There is some mysterious beauty in the proportions and the combination of the tree and the decorative touches of the house. So I guess this would be the “before” photo that tells the story of my appreciation of the winter trees.
Just when I was feeling down a month or two ago I started noticing ravens out my skylight window. There were times when there were a lot of them flying around in my view, almost as though they were trying to speak encouragement to me. It’s true that ravens are one of my top favorite things in the world to observe. Once the tree branches here are obscured by leaves it must be more difficult to spot them. This may explain why I didn’t notice very many until lately. Where I last lived, in Taos, NM, they were very much in evidence all year long. I put that high on the list of all the many reasons to love Taos.
Happy Spring 2014! Until next time…