Thursday, July 13, 2017

An Ode to Spring 2017

“What we do see depends mainly on what we look for. ... In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the colouring, sportmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.”
― John Lubbock, The Beauties of Nature and the Wonders of the World We Live in

Unlike last year, when I had moving boxes to unpack, home construction projects, and a new commute blinding me from the beauty of spring, this year I was more awake. I found raspberry plants on our property loaded with fruit, and picked pounds of strawberries at a local field. I discovered bluebirds nesting in one of our bird boxes, which was a thrill, and watched the koi spawn that resembled a beautifully choreographed water ballet, something I won’t soon forget. An up-close and personal encounter with a friendly hummingbird who decided it needed a little shower while I watered the garden is a moment I will cherish forever. And while all of these experiences were memorable, nothing can compare to our cherry blossoms and bees.

We have ten mature Yoshino Cherry Trees bordering one side of our driveway that put on a spectacular show when in full bloom! The blossoms start as white, but then get a tiny hint of pink after several days. What I noticed this spring, however, is how the blossoms seemed to transform into little blank canvasses for a palette of soft, muted colors as they reflected the light and shadows of the environment.  The trees mimicked the colors of the sunrise from pre-dawn grays, dark purples, and dusty rose into more vibrant pinks, and a light salmon color as the sun crested over the hill. On a bright sunny afternoon, they had a pale buttery color; and the blooms took on a fluorescent-like white juxtaposed against dark, stormy skies. One chilly, blustery day, I sat watching an ethereal cherry blossom blizzard, the ground polka-dotted in thousands of pink and white petals, feeling sad that the blooms had faded, but also anticipating the next color to appear; green.

One warm spring day I decided to take my yoga and meditation practice outside, and as I was walking under the trees, I noticed a steady buzzing, humming sound that made me stop and intently listen. Was someone in the neighborhood running a motor or piece of machinery? Were my ears still clogged from a cold?  Am I developing tinnitus!? These were my thoughts as I stood there listening, trying to unclog my ears. After a few moments, I shrugged it off, and continued on my way, grateful that the buzzing in my ears magically disappeared, only to have it return an hour later as I walked back up the hill toward the cherry trees. Puzzled, I stood under the trees again, listening. What was that sound?

I wasn’t going to solve the case of the strange buzzing noise by tilting my head from side-to-side trying to unclog my ears, nor walking down my driveway looking up the road. No, I needed to change my perspective; I needed to look up, of which I eventually did, discovering the source of all the buzz. Bees! Hundreds, if not thousands of bees! I’ve never seen and apparently heard, that many bees. I was in awe! I walked from tree to tree, looking up, watching them fly from blossom to blossom. The trees were buzzing with activity!

So how many times in my life have I walked around with tunnel vision, not opening myself up to a more panoramic view, missing awe-inspiring moments like hundreds of bees right above my head? Probably more times than I'd like to admit because sometimes it’s easier for me to let distractions blind me from life’s miracles, and meaningful moments.  And could it be that the walls of my tunnel vision get built out of the busyness I choose to create?  Seeing the cherry blossom trees with their kaleidoscope of colors, and the buzzing of the bees taught me to see less myopically,  to let go of some of my unnecessary distractions and notice the fish, the blue birds, a hummingbird and the resurrection of spring from a new perspective.

Summer is here now with its relaxed personality.  Can I let the lessons from spring bleed over into this new season and notice all the wonderment that nature brings in the summertime? Can I bring this awareness to other aspects of my life? Can I look in all directions, from every perspective, to find those meaningful moments, to make wiser decisions, to live an open-minded life? I hope so. My tunnel-vision will inevitability turn on, but with some practice and the lesson of the buzzing bees, maybe I’ll be able to turn it off sooner to live a fully present life.

“Life is no different than the weather. Not only is it unpredictable, but it shows us a new perspective of the world every day.”
― Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem