I hear they are having a good sugaring season in Vermont this year! The sap rises up through the maple trees after being underground all winter with the first warm sunny days of spring. It splashes generously into buckets and pipelines, and then onto breakfast, feeding us sweet-loving humans with the nonchalant grace of nature’s plenty.
The bird-song celebrates each spring morning with unabated joy made into sound. We have mockingbirds in my neighborhood. They stun me each morning with the purity of their joy.
Nature loved winter too. Winter is a season a lot like we’ve been having in our human affairs because of our long-time enslavement to mind’s creations and its seeking after comfort. But nature loves winter too. We need the winter part of the cycle. In nature a lot dies back in the face of the cold. In our human development a lot dies back in our times of discomfort. Our perspectives change. Old models fall. We go back to essentials. We are no longer fooled by trinkets and baubles. We get motivated to find what is real and substantial… what doesn’t change when everything is taken away.
And then spring comes! From our journeys into darkness, at some point the thaw begins. That which was solid becomes liquid. That which was stuck becomes free. Rivers flow again towards the ocean.
In the Christian tradition Easter has a wonderful symbolism that seems to refer directly to what we are talking about here. Jesus is a wonderful example of how even the worst possible thing can happen to you, yet Life/God/Christ is at work in the midst of it, rising again from whatever grave there has been. Jesus’ death, the interval in between and the way Christ rose on Easter all point to a rebirth process that nature is displaying every springtime. Jesus, the human being, had to say “thy will be done” for his true identity, the Living Christ, the awakened One to take over.
The problem I see in the Christian tradition’s use of this story, is that being “The Christ” (or being one with the “Father”)is understood to be something lofty and unattainable for regular people. Same with Buddhism. No monk or minister would dare to utter such words of blasphemy as to say that they were also That! But they are! They are–with no diminution of Jesus’ attainment or Buddha’s, and no illusions as to anyone’s human vehicle being infallible first. In spite of all warts they/we are already that, always have been, and so, dear reader, are you.
Its just that over the past few thousand years we’ve maintained and passed on a load of cultural and familial conditioning that causes us to identify with the imperfect little human story that we’ve been told is what/who we are. And all the time it wasn’t true.
I invite you to open to your inner springtime. Nature is encouraging and encouraging us towards this. Rather than relating to “Christ or to “enlightenment”, lets just call this our “natural self”. This has the same feel as watching how a tree moves in a gentle breeze, a brook running downhill or when listening to a bird on a spring morning. But this is felt when looking at yourself, at who we truly are, behind/before all the thinking. Our entire surroundings everywhere, even and especially in a nasty place that isn’t what we wanted, life is calling to us to notice what we are. It is time.
Poem to Spring Love
Buds breaking, in motion
Towards the lushness of summer leaves
Through the quick celebration of flowering,
Life paints itself
With a delicate paintbrush
On the hills
In a thousand shades of green,
As I drive between them
In awe and gratitude.
Yesterday my wonder was full and complete
In Love with the world;
Today is new again; remade through your touch.
There is the ecstatic arch of my spine
Alive in the bedrock
Deep under the swell of the hills
Rising and falling, riding the greater breath.
Your touch is in the penetration of air
into unfurling leaf.
Your eyes awaken remembered green
Touching the hills with springtime.
Your voice celebrates in birdsong,
The joy of being alive.
Thus do you enrich the ground of this day.
I split like a seed.
The roots stretch
Into the mysterious dark for nourishment,
Feeding the unfurling bud
In it’s journey toward the sun.
© 2008 Alice Gardner
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