Posts Tagged ‘nature’

“The bees are flying. They taste the spring.”


The title of this post is the last line in Sylvia Plath’s poem “Wintering.” It’s a rather dark poem, but the last line for me is always hopeful and optimistic — though, of course, it’s shadowed by Plath’s own biography and tragic end.

Still, let’s go with it. After a rather long, dark, dismal wintering, the hive of life is coming back to life. Around here the snow has finally melted in my driveway, and I can see…dirty concrete! After months of pure snow and ice, I’ll take what I can get. I finally got to drag out my pots of plants and mucked around, repotting and replanting, ready to see if my silly little gardening experiments turn out okay this time.

The days are longer, of course, and the sunlight itself seems stronger every day. The first relatively non-freezing day — a rather balmy 50 degrees Fahrenheit, whoo hoo! — I went for a walk by our local river, braving blustery winds that blew the hair elastic off of my French braid. Large broken-up sheets of ice floated on the river, which had little waves cresting because of the winds. Not a cloud in the sky, though, and everyone else on the path — hardcore runners, birdwatchers, others like me who just wanted to get outside for a bit — smiled and said hello at one another. I think we were all just happy to be out and about.

I’ve been riding more lately, trying to get back to the weekly schedule I had before. I worried I would lose whatever skill I’d built up painstakingly over the past year, but in a strange way, I feel more in control and powerful than ever. My seat feels secure, solid, like nothing can shake it. I can’t help but think that’s related to everything happening in my life earlier this year which can be summed up as just “AARGH TUMULT.” I take such real pleasure in the calm and focus of a good ride, as well as the unspoken yet deep-feeling connection with the horse I’m on. I’m looking forward to more rides in the spring. I’m thinking of going back to English riding, but I will be content just to canter lots and feel the wind in my hair.

Spots of optimism are popping up: new opportunities, new stories waiting to be told, new phrases waiting to be placed into poems, new spring dresses to be worn, new perfumes to try, new events to look forward to and new friends to make. I’ve temporarily started up NOGOODFORME again — time to freshen up a key part of my work portfolio — and it’s fun to use that serious-frivolity slumber party part of my brain again. There’s just a nice gush of creative energy happening in my life now, coinciding with a deepening of love and support. My novel is so close to being finished. Of course, that’s just the beginning of a whole other process, but it feels good to wrap up such a huge endeavor.

Yes, I’d say Sylvia had it right: “The bees are flying. They taste the spring.” I only wish she had stayed around to see the spring herself. But you and I are here, and I hope the new season unfurls for you in such a lovely, gentle way.


What the Hawks Told Me

This weekend I went out to my favorite place in my hometown: my local arboretum. I went with my journal, a stack of books, some Sour Patch Kids for snacks, my hippie yearly planner and my regular weekly planner. It was a gorgeous day — early fall weather, with lots of golden sunshine mixed with a slight yet brisk wind. I wore a hoodie, jeans and Converse, and I hunkered down between some hawthorn trees on top of a large sarong/scarf I got ages ago on a beach in Thailand.

I wasn’t just there to hang out and enjoy the beauty of it all, though that was definitely an aspect of it. I was taking some time to do a kind of mini-retreat — to figure out my September resolutions, map out the rest of the year and just check in with myself in general. But, of course, it wasn’t just settling into a grassy knoll, finding enlightenment and then parlaying it into world domination! Honestly, I spent a lot of the time just zoning out. I realized how little I just get to veg out these days, so it was just a real treat to stare up into the sky and watch the trees sway in the wind. I’d write a little, then veg, then journal, then veg. It was gloriously peaceful.

Finally I got focused and was ready to make my little lists, mind maps, lists within lists, yah yah yah…I even had a little worksheet I made up for myself to help pique and focus my thinking. (An eternal student, I love myself a good worksheet.) But then I noticed a bunch of bees surrounding me. What the hell is it about me and bees? Not wanting to be stung yet again — I already learned that lesson — I relocated…only to have the bees follow me. It was annoying! So I relocated again…and the bees kept following! It was the world’s slowest chase scene, me and a bunch of bees in a patch of grass. It was kind of funny, to be honest, but for the recent memory of my sting in July. So I kept relocating, and I kind of lost my Zen and focus. By the time I had shook off the bees, sigh…I just couldn’t get focused again, even though I hunkered down, re-read what I’d written in my journal and planner and tried to re-chill.

I looked down at what I’d written so far in my little nerdy worksheet. Writing another novel, other smaller creative projects, fun autumnal adventures, a writing class…all stuff I was excited about, passionate about, what I love doing. And yet something was missing for me, though it was hard to put my finger on it. It was all pieces of a life waiting to happen, lots of things I’ve done or are excited to do. I felt challenged and creative when I thought about each separate thing. But that was the thing, though…”separate,” “pieces”…it all felt really atomized and random. I realized the bigger issue was that nothing feels married to a larger vision, a bigger movement of life.


Sweetness Follows (A “Life in Pictures” Kind of Thing)

Moving into spring this year was a little difficult, because winter was so long and a spat of Daylight Savings-induced insomnia derailed me a little. But now I wake up in the mornings just as the light streams into my house, casting temporary paintings of light and shadows onto the walls.

I like going outside in the morning, when the air is brisk and the light is clear. It’s refreshing — something about the snap of it clears out the head-down, shoulders-up huddle you develop during the cold winter.

You look up and suddenly seem more alive to the odd yet strangely riveting sights around you, like how a garage can frame a tableaux. Everything becomes a frame and tableau.


Hello, Autumn! And Some Equinox Thoughts

The equinox was on Saturday, ushering in the official change from summer to fall. Yay! Fall is my favorite season of the year — I love the cooler temperatures, the deep and melancholy colors, the way everything buzzes with a kind of purpose. I will always have that “back to school” urge to get new notebooks, new sweaters, new folders, new bag.

I’m a lazy pagan in general: though I’m not one to light a candle and dance under the moon, I like to use the change in seasons and the rhythms of nature to reflect and contemplate and celebrate — in my own, modern, idiosyncratic way, to feel like I’m in sync with the larger world around me.

Equinoxes are symbolically about balance: equal amount of light and darkness. I’ve actually been thinking about things like balance and equilibrium, maybe because lately my life doesn’t feel like it’s had much of it. I feel like I’ve spent the last month and a half settling down into a new place. Hearth and home, I guess. I couldn’t concentrate, really, on much else — it was a compulsion, to make sure the pots and pans were in order, basic furniture settled, building up my pantry, etc. I have never felt like such a stereotypical homebody Cancer, bustling about buying five kinds of vinegar and contemplating throw pillows for the sofa. (Yes, I can’t believe I woke up one day and was like, “Oh my god, I absolutely NEED to have champagne balsamic vinegar!”)

But now that’s done and passed, and I can get back to everything else. Theoretically, at least — lately I feel my focus and attention is a little scattered and frayed, and I don’t really have a lot of clarity as a result. I pass through time so quickly that the days scroll by in a blur; I sometimes feel like I’m just an airless wraith being tossed and turned by the winds in my days. You know that feeling, when you’re eating something and you don’t taste it because your mind is in a million different places. Or you just had a conversation and can’t recall what you just talked about. Or you lie down at the end of the day and the day’s events are all still racing through you. I hate to make many decisions in a cloudy state, so I really need to take some time to regain a sense of harmony. I need to do things like:

Make sure I get enough sleep. I haven’t been sleeping as much as I should, and I am kind of feeling it. Not burned out, but getting close to that edge. Sleep! It’s so easy for people to think they need to do without it, but it’s such a pillar of well-being.

Getting enough fresh air. Even if it’s just having coffee on my porch and sitting in the sun for a moment. There’s just something nice about it. Plus: I have to soak in what I can before it gets too cold for it.

Read! Watch movies! Listen to music Lately I feel like I don’t read as much as I’d like, or watch enough quality stuff, or listen to music as deeply as I used to. It’s not wallpaper; it deserves my full attention. It’s time to fill the well again.

Write! I haven’t really done a lot while moving — it’s hard for me to focus, for sure, on anything, and now I feel rusty and out of practice. I used to be quite good at getting up early to work on projects — I need to start doing that again, and carving out the space to honor that priority for myself.

Recreate a rhythm for myself. Even if it’s just ten minutes in the morning to have coffee and ten minutes at night for hot cider! Just something that creates a tiny oasis of time where I don’t have to do anything — I can just sit and exist.

I guess it’s a “back to basics” time for me, really, restoring my footing or center, or whatever word you want to use for the state of feeling rooted in life and solid in yourself and what you’re doing. For a long time, being creative felt effortless to me, but then I realized it was being my lifestyle at the time was structured around it. (Going to film school will do that for you.) Now I have to be a bit more purposeful, with so much else in life happening: a full-time job, loved ones, a home to run, etc.

I don’t quite believe in “life balance” much, honestly — I think creative people have muses and passions, and they need to pursue them in the seasons where they’re most ripe. But I do think even when you’re chasing your dragons, there’s such as thing as equilibrium to help you ride those tides. That’s what this equinox is about for me, finding my own balance of light and dark inside.