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Change is hard.
Just ask Late Winter.
“Well, yes, as a matter of fact, change is hard. I feel frazzled and frustrated. I stay confused, not knowing what’s happening from day to day. So much pressure. Do this; don’t do that. Be this; don’t be that. Move on already; no, stay. It’s hard being Late Winter. I can’t please anyone or anything.”
Poor dear. I feel your pain. I share some of it myself.
But Late Winter, you please me. You make this time of the year exciting!
Here in the south every single day is a mystery.
What should we wear? Hat, gloves, coat? Just a sweater? A light jacket? One just never knows this time of year. I’ll see winter boots and flip-flops on different folks the same day.
There’s a familiar saying here,
“If you don’t like the weather, just wait 10 minutes.”
In Late Winter, this rings even louder and truer. Freezing in the morning, warm by noon. Snow today, 65 degrees tomorrow.
Should we build a fire? My rule-of-thumb, which I adapted from my Dad, is that if the high is 60 degrees or below, that’s fire weather. (Although I had to tweak that rule when I moved to a cold cold region. There we have days that are too cold for a fire. As in, Baby, when It Is TOO Cold Outside, more heat is sucked up the chimney and more cold air enters the house than a fire could ever compensate for.)
Is it too early to plant sugar snap peas? Or onions? I plan my garden and think about new varieties of vegetables to plant and wonder when I should plant them. I look at the barren patch of earth and dream. I flip through the seed catalogs and the haunt the gardening websites. Today? Next week? Soon? Hard to say.
Late Winter is brown. Here’s my woodland path by the creek this morning, Blue running towards me. It’s funny how the dogs and cats use the path too. They stay on the trail unless there’s a very good reason to get off of it.
Every shade and hue of brown and gray can be found here today.
“Should we go ahead and shoot out some new growth?” Plants (and people) inquire in Late Winter.
Some make cautious decisions every year. Others are risk takers, popping out on the first warm day. Early poppers are rewarded some years; other years they pay the price for pushing the limits.
This morning I found this green leaf emerging on an otherwise barren Oak Leaf Hydrangea plant.
The flowers. They’re timid in Late Winter.
Thinking again about it, are they timid? or wise?
Hard to tell the difference. Same result.
It’s the tiny little wildflowers that are first flowers to awaken, making their way through the earth to see the sun and moon again. You’ve got to have good observation skills to notice these babies. That’s a hickory nut shell beside the purple flower.
Further along my woodland path, I find this.
One lone azalea bloom.
Bold, courageous flower.
Neither timid nor wise.
It will be nipped by the cold within 48 hours. Beautiful while it lasts.
Should I pick it and bring it inside? Or leave it be? I left it be.
Lately I’m seeing a little more green. I noticed it on the neighbor’s cow pasture the other day, suddenly the field had gone from brown to green. At the same time, I (gleefully) witnessed small calves prancing around together, running erratically around the fileld, strengthening their new legs.
Soon they’ll learn to stick their heads through the barbed wire fences. It starts early, the whole ‘grass in always greener on the other side’ philosophy.
A neighbor told me that she saw coyotes playing with a calf the other evening around dusk. They were running around the pasture having fun, she said. “Fun?” Should I have broken it to her? I didn’t.
I was looking for more tiny wildflowers when I saw this, moss sprouts on stones. I’ve been particularly drawn to mosses this winter, admiring their varying textures and shades of green.
Ah, I even found a dandelion on this Late Winter stroll! Whaaaaaat?! That’s what I’m saying about Late Winter. It’s confusing.
2019’s Late Winter has me thinking about some big issues, like how this is the time of year for PREPARATION, a great time to gear up for CHANGE.
Time to percolate dreams and goals.
Time to begin the prepartion for making vision boards jump off the wall and into real life.
My current favorite band, The Avett Brothers, sing, “Decide what to be and go be it.” Sometimes the deciding what to be is the hardest part. Sometimes the being is. Either way, Late Winter is a good time to start doing both. It’s the season to amend the soil and plant the seeds of the future you dream about. Yes, Late Winter is a good time to make PROGRESS.
Change is hard in the beginning,
Messy in the middle,
And gorgeous at the end.
Recently I sent those words to a friend who has been going through some big whopping life changes. We keep hope and faith for the promise of the gorgeous end. It’s coming. Wait for it. First the hard, then the messy, and then the reward.
After my woodland walk, I go and sit by the creek.
This is where much of my thinking and writing occurs…
This is where I figure things out in every season and in all kinds of weather.
The breeze is frigid, but the bright sun warms my face. That sums up Late Winter, warm and cold at the same time. I should have brought a blanket, but the sun fooled me into leaving it inside today.
And then I see it fly in.
I stop all movement as I watch it land on a rock beside the stream. The Blue Heron has spent all winter here. He stops all movement too, becomes a statue. He is hunting and won’t move again until either (i) he spots me (ii) I move or (iii) he catches a bite to eat. That’s why I’ve never gotten a photo of him. Once I move, it’s all over.
When my hippie friend–whom I love and admire and wish I was more like–was here a few months ago she told me that the Great Heron is a spirit animal. She said something like this: the Heron tells you that it is time for self-reflection. She told me that he visits those who are unaware of who they are and where they belong in the world. The basic theme of the Heron visiting me was that I needed to examine ways to change and improve.
Keep in mind that I see this bird every few days, sometimes daily; he’s not just visiting, he’s unpacked his bags and moved in.
Before she told me these profound spirit-Heron-life things, I’d see the Heron and have thoughts like, “Hmm, wonder if Herons eat snakes. I’d really hate that. Or maybe I’d like that? Now that I have conquered my snake phobia, I’m ambivalent. I don’t want to step on a snake in the creek, that’s for sure. But a cute little Northern Water Snake spent the summer here. Don’t eat that little fella. Maybe Herons would eat only the poisonous snakes. Hmm.” Or maybe, “Why is it always alone? Where are it’s friends and companions?”
Ever since she visited, I see the Heron and don’t think about think about whether snakes are on their menu. I think about who I am and where I belong in the world. You know, whether I am living “the” life I was placed on earth to live, if there is such a thing. I really don’t think there is, do you?
This is Late Winter life.
The lesson in Late Winter? Don’t get too attached to this moment. Appreciate it, enjoy it, but hang on because the next moment is a-comin’. And it may even be a humdinger.
Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!
Lots of love, Rebekah, The City Farmgirl in the Country