As I have written here several times, I turned 50 last May and have been reflecting and writing about the lessons I have learned in the past 50 years. These†include those I have learned from nature and from my family.
As my 50th year starts to wind down and I am ever closer to my 51st year, I thought Iíd use the next few weeks finishing up my ďlessonsĒ from the past year. Starting with this one, what I have learned from spring.
Aside from fall, spring is my other favorite season and not just because I was born in the spring. Itís hard not to like a season known for flowers and greenery and being outside. Here are some lasting lessons that I have learned from this season:
Things do not last forever, they are always changing. As a gardener, I know this first hand, working so hard at getting my garden ready, doing everything ďright,Ē and still knowing that at the end of the season, it will die. Thatís why I try to enjoy every piece of fruit, every vegetable, and every bouquet of flowers I harvest. I try to never take my gardenís bounty for granted. The same is true in our personal relationships, but we donít usually think of them in the same way. I have found it one of the most ironic things that when one gets married, the vows include a commitment of forever, while in the rest of our lives we donít expect that, and know that in reality nothing lasts forever. Thatís not to say that with hard work and a commitment from both partners to make it work, your marriage or partnership canít last forever. But, if you take it for granted, or take other people in your life for granted, it wonít. Everything needs nurturing and attention to grow. Without us even noticing, things are constantly changing both within ourselves and our relationship. Our challenge is to recognize this, and to change with them, not against them, and to not fight the changes that come, and not take the other person for granted.
Thereís always a chance to start over. Spring reminds us that we can start anew. Each year I try something new in my garden, or I try to correct what didnít work for me the previous spring. Each spring we have a second chance, this is a lesson that we can apply to the rest of our lives. Instead of being miserable about something that didn’t work out the way we wanted, or holding onto anger at somebody, let it go and start over.
There is beauty beneath the surface. As a gardener, it never ceases to amaze me that bulbs I planted seasons, or sometimes even years ago, are lying dormant under the soil just ready to burst open with the first rush of spring. I have found this to be true in life too. That no matter how dark things get, how horrible they seem, things really do get better but, it is up to me to make them better, or to see the beauty that my broken heart canít see at the moment that I am hurting.
Be Patient. As I wrote about in the lessons I have learned from gardening, seasons only change when they are supposed to, and we have to let things happen in their own time. They don’t come any faster if we get impatient, we just get frustrated. Being in nature whether it is gardening, or just paying attention to the changing seasons, is a great way to learn to be patient. You cannot rush natureís rhythm and timing. A seed will only grow as fast as it can. Fruit and vegetables will only ripen when it is time for them to ripen. Trying to pressure them into being ready when they are not is futile.
Stop and smell the roses. Or, as Ferris Bueller eloquently put it, ďLife moves pretty fast, if you donít stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.Ē Have fun, go out and play in the sunshine, in your garden, at the park or the beach. Enjoy all that spring has to offer.