The Turning Seasons: Plants, Death, and Rebirth

Today is Easter, the time when in the Christian tradition, someone who was once presumed deceased is reborn into a new, but strikingly similar form.  Yesterday was World Transgender Awareness Day, celebrating a community so often misunderstood, harassed, or ignored--a community whose very nature calls out in an expression of change, ideally able to embrace the individual's truest self.  On the Spring Equinox, March 20, was Ostara, the transition between the hibernation and death of winter into the rebirth and new life of spring.  I find it apt that all three of these events occur during a liminal period, not entirely one or the other--the dusk of one season and dawn of the next. 


It is in these liminal times and spaces that change exists, that manifestation of the unknown might occur.  It is in these between places that the seeds of future dreams might be planted in the fertile ground of possibility.  Is it scary at times to approach this?  Yes.  Yes, indeed it can be.  Any change, any unknown has the potential to strike fear into the heart of those who approach.  But remember this: Be as the seeds that sprout in the spring. 

The seeds, the new growth awakening from winter's stasis do not know the fear of sprouting, of growth and change.  They do not fear the becoming.  They do not look at the glorious flowers already in full bloom or the tall oaks, standing sentinel on the hills and think they are not good enough, not strong enough, fast enough, pretty enough, or smart enough.  They are enough.  As long as they receive what they need, as long as there are others to give them a sheltering canopy as they grow and find their roots, nutrient-rich soil and companion microbes to enrich it, as long as the rains and brilliant sun's rays can reach them, they can thrive.  

Fearlessness is not avoiding the ups and downs of life: it’s sitting with them, listening, feeling, bowing to them... and then moving forward.”
— Waylon H. Lewis

More notable still are those species and outliers that manage to grow despite their surroundings.  The Ash that thrives in waterlogged environments that would rot the root systems of most other species.  The cacti that retain water and can survive extreme drought conditions, often growing slowly and steadily in sandy soil most other plants would find entirely inhospitable.  The mistletoe that somehow manages to attach itself to a tree's upper branches, never actually touching the ground.  The ivy and other vines that put down roots as they go, so the plant does not over-extend itself and can survive if something happens to the main stem.  Air plants that can survive on water vapor alone, at least for a time.  If you look to nature, there are innumerable examples of fascinating beings that share the planet with humanity.  Be as they are.  


In this time of transition and change, find your seeds and plant them.  Even if the only fertile soil you can find in your entire psyche is a two-inch divot on some rocky outcropping in full sun, plant them.  Tend them.  Bring them water and stories.  Tell them your deepest hopes and fevered dreams.  Sing to them.  Sing your heart's dreams into being.  I know you can.  It might not be immediate.  It might not be in the next month, or even the next year.  Plant seeds wherever you can and do the same.  The mighty oaks and firs, hawthorns, and sakuras will grow within your protection.  Often it is difficult to do things for ourselves, but easier if someone has asked for aid--they're asking.  Some seeds require years, decades even of dormancy before even thinking of sprouting, some must see one frost or five before their hard coverings crack enough to allow them to spring forth.  As they grow, the rocky outcroppings will likely crumble in places and be reinforced in others, creating a more solid footing.

The unknown is full of fear, both of failure and success.  Fear of failure is generally easy enough to understand--the fear that whatever you do, it won't be good enough.  The other though?  It sounds strange to say: fear of success, but it is entirely accurate.  There is an old saying that it is better to stay with the devil you know than to go with the devil you don't.  The same applies here.  While you might be entirely dissatisfied with the current state of your existence, at least you know the score, the rules of the game you're currently living in.  If you switch games mid-stream, you have to re-learn the rules, or create your own.  I find myself there often enough, trying to let go of the past and move forward while still holding tight to current circumstances, afraid of change.  I'm a Gemini, change is part of who I am, and yet I fight it because it is an unknown element. 

While future events can be extrapolated, based on past and current situations, even that is not absolute.  Patterns can be disrupted by unforeseen circumstances and sometimes yield even greater rewards than were part of the original goal.  Is this uncertainty and transience sometimes terrifying? Yes, definitely.  We are told to look before we leap for a reason.  But if you always just look at that distant, or sometimes not so distant shore, you miss out on being there.  The unknown holds court with limitless possibility.  Take a chance.  You might well fall flat on your face, but you could just a surely find that the uncross-able expanse was an optical illusion created by your own shadowed doubts and fears.  

I did not begin this post as a motivational message, but that is, apparently what it needed to become.  I hope that this can help even just one person who might be going through a tough time, whatever it may be.  Feel free to respond in the comments.  May the rebirth of spring find you whole and hale and may the returned sun's rays fill your being with radiant warmth.

Until tomorrow,