Cherry trees in March
March always brings in the new, the subtle tiny blossoms and delicate green leaves of spring, renewal after the long winter. This March holds the first anniversary of a year-long forced hibernation. We all remember that fateful week in March 2020 as the new realities of a pandemic changed our ways of being in the world in one quick stroke. I also feel myself emerging from the difficult years of elder care and the structures of academia and academic writing. I’m starting to imagine what I want to see bud and emerge in my life.
Thanks to the miracles of modern science, bit by bit, we are starting to emerge from our cloistered lives. What will that look like? What are you longing to do? For me, I find that I still want to hold on to some of the things I’ve been doing the last few months. I love cooking more and being more adventurous with food. I love “time spaciousness” where the day expands and I don’t have to go anywhere. But I do miss small groups of friends and going to live concerts.
What else is emerging is a desire to get going on new projects, new routines, new experiences. Spring is the time for sowing the seeds you want to grow and cultivate in your life. So I’m committing to growing ideas that have laid dormant until the right season, the right conditions. I think that is one of the best ways to let life flow—don’t force the things that are not quite ready to emerge– like planting flowers before the first frost. But when the time is right, the project will let you know it is time.
I often find that a synchronicity (meaningful coincidence) lets me know that the time is right. The last few weeks, I’ve been listening to The Dutch House by Anne Patchett, this month’s selection for my neighborhood book club. Read by Tom Hanks, the beautiful prose has washed over me like a warm wave. I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed a novel more. Rather than constant tragedy forcing an overwhelming story line, an old house is the container for lives, loves and sadness. There is a gentleness to the stability of the constant presence of place and history. In the story, a large home with lots of history, is the catalyst for the lives of the individuals that live and work in the house, the Dutch house. Some people thrive, others struggle under its roof, but all are changed by the physical structure that holds their daily lives.
All of our lives have been shaped by place and its climate, culture, history and geography. We are also constantly influenced by the daily surroundings, big, small, extravagant, humble and everything in between. I’m fascinated by how our place in the world reflects in our psychology and how we also influence place with our desires, interests and even neglect. It is easy to see how friends, family and even enemies can influence us. But more than ever before we can see how our place influences our health and wellbeing. For several years, I’ve been thinking about the influence of home on our psychology, our unique consciousness, and how our psychology forms the home around us. It is a special and important relationship.
The Dutch House certainly reminds me to sow the seeds that I’ve been collecting and get to writing my ideas and experiences on “home”. No more excuses or I will have nothing to harvest in the future. What can you sow during this glorious springtime? What pieces have you been gathering in your heart and mind that you need to set into action?