In like a lion, out like a lamb. That’s the adage I’m celebrating right now, doubling up on the almanac’s confident assurances about an early spring. My local friends will argue that our frigid air temps of late have already proved that prediction wrong; but it was a brief blip on an otherwise sunny outlook. This too shall pass. Let’s cling to that adage as well, which brings me to my favorite reading material this week: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
Have you read this book, or are you listening to Oprah’s piecemeal interview with him, which dissects his other title, A New Earth? The material is such a luscious reinforcement to all the Buddhism we have been absorbing this winter, all the lessons on mindfulness, stillness, and impermanence.
And I may or may not have mentioned this here: For months now I have been receiving crystal clear direction from God to make space and hold it. I crave space in my body, in my schedule, in our home, even in my intimate relationships, though creating space there has been magically coupled with a new layer of more meaningful intimacy. I tried to rationalize it for a while but eventually relaxed and decided that simply doing it could become my daily practice. It has been lovely, and I am only just beginning.
One funny thing about space is that it tends to fill itself up if we aren’t watching. Physical space, especially. We recently sold one car and rearranged the others plus some gym equipment to other outbuildings and in so doing wound up with a completely blank car bay in the garage attached to our house, the one where I do laundry and have a potting/painting bench. How long did that space stay empty? Not very! We went to the feed store last weekend and brought home 21 newly hatched chicks and 2 tiny ducks. They now live in a heated metal horse trough in that “empty space,” ha! Our days since they came to the farm have been very peep-ish and our whole world is now totes adorbs. This kind of space filling is fine by us.
Let’s talk about the weather once more, and the seasons.
These recent weeks brought us freezing (truly freezing, not just hyperbole-cold-Oklahoma but actually sub-zero) temps and plenty of frost and ice. We fought off the despair of unceasingly gray, gloomy skies, wore layer upon layer of clothing but still shivered, and ate weird food that barely ever warmed us up. The tail end of February is always bizarre, right? Doesn’t it feel longer than all the rest of winter, combined?
Then, on Monday evening, the clouds parted suddenly and the sun shone on the farm just long enough to accomplish a dramatic stab of gold and bronze, fighting off the gloom, literally moments before dusk. We were sitting in the east living room when it happened, and the change in atmosphere deserved its own Vivaldi soundtrack.
Then Tuesday was ever so slightly more pleasant for being outside, and sunset on Wednesday took my breath away. This morning, before seven, I saw the eastern sky do that kaleidoscope twist where all of her pink and apricot colors churned and shone and cast a shimmering mix of lavender and yellow onto the basin of the western sky, just across our pond. It happens some days in a more kinetic way than others. It’s truly magical, and I love it.
Also, our only two adult roosters are fighting a little bit, no matter that they have a harem of seven gorgeous hens to share.
The pine forest has been weighed down with hefty flocks of visiting, screaming black birds.
The earthworms are wriggling into the warmest top layers of soil and compost.
The horses are shedding like crazy.
The bees are foraging on dried manure and dandelions.
And my heart just knows.
What I’m saying here, friends, is that springtime is happening. We knew it would!
All the seed trays, empty raised beds, and future watermelon patches will soon be ready for action.
Until then, more space making, More reading and cleaning and working and loving. More teaching ducklings to swim (like they need lessons) and more encouraging German Shepherds to appreciate every single romp outdoors, because the freeze is over, at long last.
A quick, gentle word about optimism, and this darling snuggling photo of Handsome with Maddie:
At our friend Maddie’s recent high school performance of Shrek, one song stood out to me and actually kind of hit me like a marshmallow sledgehammer. The character Fiona was singing a funny lament about how many years she had been locked away in her tower, about for how very long she had been wishing for her prince to rescue her (insert your own long-awaited miracle at this point). Then in the scene when it finally happens, when Shrek finally comes to release her from her bondage, she proclaims, “I knew it would happen TODAY!”
TODAY. Fiona knew, all those days and years leading up to her big moment, that her answer would come. She surrounded herself with evidence of other princesses and their unique moments of redemption. As her own waiting and captivity stretched on, she may have felt discouraged sometimes but still knew in some funny, weird way that it would happen today. The only detail missing was exactly which today it would be. And so, with that deep knowledge, she never gave up.
Okay, I will leave that with you for a while, to marinate. Please get back with me and share your thoughts. The whole notion that today is all we have, that this moment is all there ever is, that presence and attention are powerful, well, it will not let go of me. And it all leads me to crave more space. And I knew that springtime would eventually happen, that it would happen on some unknown today. And I know that all of our hardest-yearned for prayers will also be answered, on some very special today that is very much worth waiting for.
A final thought about Fiona? She waited, and she trusted, but her answer was still a miraculous surprise. Remember? It was not exactly what she imagined: It was far better. So friends, let’s stay open to the shock and trembling joy of all that is possible in our lives. Let’s crate and hold space for whatever is coming. And then relax back into the present moment.
I love you. I wish you only the best of every detail. Please come visit our baby peeps before they grow up.
“Past and future veil God from our sight.
Burn up both of them with fire.”