Now is the brightening. It seems as if the sky is hanging equal to land for this one moment before night gives way to longer days. wild winds sweep through old dreams to clear the way for new rising energy of light, entering our waking senses and the hearts of primroses and daffodils. Earth is breathing faster, working the sun fire that flares warmth to lift our spirits . . . What will you plan and hatch, bring into this year? Let the freshening thaw dissolve inertia. Rose Flint Mother Tongue Ink
A crow, perched on a white pine’s branch, called out to me yesterday morning as I walked along the snowy path to yoga at Joy Center. “It’s spring! It’s spring!” my crow friend seemed to be singing. And, indeed, despite the mammoth piles of snow that are now covered with a fresh six inches of glittering white, despite the months of record cold that still remain a shudder in our bones, there’s a warmer breeze blowing in. Two of the three bunnies who have hunkered in under our deck for this long winter are now basking in the sun while munching on sunflower seeds under the feeder. They seem relaxed, their bunny jackets unzipped. I’ve noticed that I’m more relaxed, too, my jacket unzipped, as I walk outside to car or mailbox or errand in town. And Sunday, on a piercingly blue sky afternoon, I skate-skied for miles along the groomed trail heading up to County Road 510. It wasn’t warm. In fact, it was downright cold at eleven degrees with breath-frost forming on the inside of my pulled-up scarf, and, yet, even on this frigid day, the sun felt strong, and the stream beneath the bridge that I skied across, it was running free under a layer of thin ice. Oh, to hear the sound of running water!
Yes, spring is upon us and the earth is thawing and the sap is rising and I wonder what is thawing inside of me, what possibilities are rising up in this season of the sap rising and the new being born? I began the month of March in Moscow, Idaho, with a week-long visit with my son, daughter-in-law and nineteen-month-old grandson. That’s when the stirring began for me. And it wasn’t just the forty-five degree days and the robins flocking in the neighborhood trees and the city sidewalks free of ice and snow that unleashed my winter holding. It was something else. The possibility of new possibilities. In most sessions of yoga, we kneel sturdy on one leg, stretch out the other, slide the arm on the extended side down the leg as we reach the opposite arm over toward it. The pose in Sanskrit is called Parighasana, Gate Pose, and you can almost feel it, how you are opening up, stretching a boundary, moving past limitations. “You are opening a gate inside yourself and there is a whole world to explore, one that you didn’t even know was possible yesterday.” That’s what I say as we breathe into this stretch. That’s what I was feeling as I breathed into my week in Moscow, Idaho.
Idaho. It wasn’t even on my radar of places to explore until late last summer when one of our two sons accepted a job teaching at a small college in the northern panhandle of this western state. And now, during this week in early March, my fourth visit to the university town of Moscow, I learned that the pull out to the panhandle had become even stronger for my husband and I. What are the chances of your sons, both of them holding doctorates in vastly different fields, ending up not only in the same state but in the same small town?!? When our younger son was applying for jobs this winter and University of Idaho was on his list, I didn’t allow myself to form an opinion. I just stayed on the sidelines and witnessed the unfolding. So, when it became official in this first week of March that he and his fiancé had accepted positions at the University in Moscow, I felt it. Spring bubbling up inside of me! I was excited. The town, which already was seeming like a home-away-from-home with its amazing Co-op cafe and yoga studio juice bar, with its hiking trails and bike path, took on an even more welcoming glow. And when I tagged along as grandmother-playmate to toddler Viren during a week of house-hunting for son and daughter-in-law, I didn’t expect to fall in love with a little cottage on the outskirts of town. A gate had opened up in me and a whole new world was sitting there waiting to be explored. Montana to the east. Canada to the north. Seattle and Portland less than a half-day’s drive away. To the south a mountain range of unspeakable beauty.
Who knows how it is all going to unfold. I certainly don’t. And it’s not the time to buy a cottage home-away-from-home, even an adorable one nestled against those tall western pines and within walking distance to the Co-op and the bike path in the town both our sons are going to call home. And it’s not really about the specific circumstances. It’s about feeling something new. Feeling alive inside in this present moment. My sister is going to be a grandmother soon. My niece is expecting a baby in mid-June, and my sister, she can hardly contain herself. “I just want to jump up and down!” she told me in a phone call the other day. That’s it. That’s the feeling I’m talking about. And it doesn’t matter how long we’ve lived in these body homes. When we hear the honk honk of geese flying overhead and the rush of running water, when we feel the soft breeze against our skin and taste that freshness in the air, we become young again and the whole world, it opens up and becomes our playground.