Winter continues to linger at Full Moon Cottage. Today, another storm has brought 4 new inches of heavy, wet snow. The quality of the snow, however, indicates that spring is near, since the air temperature is too warm to sustain a snow that is dry and fluffy. Winter isn’t over, but it’s moving along, as the greater hours of daylight confirm.
Our energy shifts away from the need to incubate seeds of ideas into acting upon them, from the stillness of winter’s tomb towards rolling away the rock and stepping into the light of another spring and the green life we’re called to create and recreate.
In my free time, I’ve been playing with paint samples and garden catalogues, two sure signs my spirit is quickening. (No surprise that the medical definition of “quickening” refers to the first detected movements of the life within a mother’s womb.)
The temptation to rush into projects has always been a weakness of mine; thankfully, I’ve finally learned to notice and honor the impulse but invite it to wait and trust that my creativity, if properly fed and rested, will birth what it must when gestation is complete.
In the meantime, I meditate. I pay attention to dreams. I listen. Winter is still with me and her lesson books are still open. There are truths to retrieve, like threads that have unraveled and must be gently pulled forward and woven again into the tapestry of my life to make it healed and whole. Hold up one experience at a time to the light; enter it and know its meaning for my life now, and then weave this into the next experience. Spring will call forth the proper action.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve been re-reading my childhood diaries. I began keeping a diary when I was eight and continued for the next 30 years. (Since, then, I’ve kept e-mails and journals on hard drive and now, in a “cloud.”) I’ve been focusing on my diaries from 4th grade through 7th grade, the years when individuation and finding one’s voice seem to begin blooming in earnest, since those years are integral to understanding my current book’s characters.
At the end of 6th grade, my family moved, and I was dropped into a new class where friendships had been long-formed and there were clearly-drawn lines separating the girls into groups that were accorded clear and varying levels of “worthiness.” When I later became a middle school teacher, I fought this tyranny earnestly. But, it seems, like other forms of bullying, it persists, flowing around teachers and parents like a river that must run its course, no matter what stones stand in its path. Pecking orders must be established, I guess. (Although I would never offer the persistence of cliques and bullying as an excuse to surrender the need to constantly teach kindness and compassion to middle-schoolers.)
I’d forgotten what a hard time I had with this life shift, struggling for most of the next year to find the sense of self that had begun to be confidently defined at my former school. I missed friends and teachers with whom my growth and self-knowledge had felt sewn together and merged into a quilted patchwork of community.
At my new school, I felt both isolated and exposed at a time when a girl most wants to blend in and be part of a group. And it probably wasn’t as dramatic as I felt it to be, but our feelings create our reality and mine, during this adjustment, felt unwieldy and miserable. Of course, those days flowed into a new year, a place where the clouds lifted and the sun gradually began to shine. Winter ended and green life returned. I was changed.
Reading these once-upon-a-time stories from my life has brought me many gifts: Steps of my life’s dance have again been clarified; patterns of interaction have been brought into focus and their sources better understood; methods of evasion I’ve used to conceal my feelings, even from my own heart, have emerged, and melodies my spirit knew but had forgotten have been sung back to me by the girl who wrote these diaries.
I hope she sings through my dreams and into the book I’m writing, but like the spring, her gifts to me will be born fully when they’re ready. For now, I’m content to ponder and feel a new wholeness quickening.