I once watched as a rose garden bloomed. The flowers were contained within a wooden box at the entrance of a café I frequented each morning. In between sips of coffee, I gazed with foggy eyes and admired the buds as they gradually appeared – as though cutting through the final winter frost and announcing the ascension of spring.
Every day I glanced over at new colors emerging, like witnessing a fresh stroke of paint onto a canvas. Before long, harmonic explosions of fuchsia, blood orange and crimson created a symphony of movement and texture. And, when the petals formed together in completion, they were like the pivotal line in a love song that punches you in the gut. You know – the kind that makes you clutch your heart and sigh.
I have never forgotten the significance of witnessing that garden form so gradually and poetically. It offered a lesson in the beauty of trust and patience; all human progressions evolve the same way.
We do not become something new overnight, nor do we build anything worthwhile overnight. Reinventions are gradual, rhythmic doings which honor all seasons of life. And, the garden’s caretaker and environment will always be the result of its bloom.
What Is Nature Trying to Tell Us?
If fall is a romance between nature and man, spring is an incitation for reinvention. If fall is for slowing down and crawling into corners, spring is for coming alive and growing out of them.
Look at it this way: If the magic of autumn puts us under a spell of stagnation and winter is spent buried under it, then spring is for breaking it.
But this shift is more than just a luring from hibernation. Spring asks that we drop those layers of heavy covers we have been hiding under, sweep through the residual dust of our disappointments and mistakes, step out of the shadows and dare to be born again. It is a migration from what is cozy and familiar, and an entrance into open-aired vulnerability. All reinventions require a departure from comfort, but their pathways – though laced with unknowing – always lead us to the fun.
On the first day of spring, the Earth’s axis is tilted neither toward nor away from the sun. This is also true on the first day of autumn. The difference is this: spring marks the progression of tilting toward the sun; autumn marks the progression of turning away from it.
Both are tantamount to our growth. We must have seasons of turning away from the sun as much as we must have the luxury of feeling it on our skin. Because how would we even know the pleasure of its light if we didn’t know the absence of it?
Spring Is for Cleaning out and Bursting Into Bloom
One of the most bittersweet spring seasons of my life was when I was 20 years old and recovering from a broken heart. A relationship I believed would last forever had finally ended after months of stalling in a state of ruin. I could not cling anymore, nor could I spend another day feeding our dead garden. I was trying so hard not to know it, but our trees were barren. And, that realization was gutting.
But I say it was bittersweet because – though excruciating – I was cultivating seeds of independence. Having recently signed a lease for my first apartment, it was to me a 600-square-foot palace. That voyage, though unwanted, marked a “crossing over.” And it was colored with explorations such as figuring out which foods I enjoyed cooking – even discovering that I had culinary potential at all. I was learning the kinds of art I liked seeing on my walls, the candles I enjoyed burning before bedtime and the genre of movies which most engulfed me when I wasn’t consumed with entertaining a lover. I was discovering me.
My heart had endured a beating and was undoubtedly impaired, but it was still pumping blood. Together, we were teaching each other how to be strong. I was hurting, but I was coming back to life. I was being stretched, but it ached so sweetly.
Ever since, I have never forgotten that awful yet beautiful feeling of awakening. I now approach every spring with a special fondness for not only my own resilience, but for life’s opportunities for reinvention.
I think of spring as being like a child who will not allow me to hide behind the bushes or rest on the sidelines. It instinctively knows my hidden longings. It beckons me with the ripeness of its fruit and lures me with its lushness. Its emerging sun pursues me, pulling and tugging at my arm, demanding, “Let’s play! Let’s play!”
It asks that we become participants of its verdant playground. That we sink our bare feet into its fertile soil, and pump our bicycle tires full of air and go along for the ride. That we bare my shoulders, zip ourselves into its backless dresses and lower our inhibitions. Cherry Blossoms woo us with pink enchantment. Budding trees beckon us to climb and hang from them. Spring asks that we come back to life. It asks that we dance in its rain, shout in its parades and delight in its festivals.
Just as the songbirds spent the winter months incubating their eggs and preparing to hatch when it warms, spring is an incantation for us to give birth to something we have never done before.
No matter who you are or where you have been, nature is summoning you to grow and reinvent. It will be different for everyone. Perhaps there is an album’s worth of musical euphoria, a movie script packed full of wise-cracking characters, an innovative marketing concept, an entrepreneurial venture, a health and fitness endeavor or another chance at love that has been inside of you incubating for too long now – dying to come out kicking and squealing. This is the season to bring it forth.
Because spring extends its invitation for reinvention to all. It only requests that we take an honest assessment of our internal gardens, discard what isn’t growing, step outside of our zones of comfort and – ultimately – burst into bloom. Just as nature has.