Spring gleaning…

new bud

The urge to sort things out in spring extends beyond closets and cupboards.

It seems a fitting time to organize one’s insights as well, what’s been gleaned from the past few seasons.

Since spring has a way of awakening thoughts about what we want, the notions i’m sorting out today have to do with desires.

You sometimes hear people say you can get anything you want if you want it badly enough and are willing to work toward it.

Nurturing desires makes them more likely to come to fruition, of course. But equanimity in the meantime requires being clear about what’s within our control and what isn’t.

In the spring, i wait for the night chill to soften, to correspond with the warming of the daytimes, and i expect to inhale that special spring smell any day now.

Nature tends to accommodate my desire eventually. I get something i want because i’m aligned with these rhythms.

Some things we simply go after.

Learning a language, for instance, or, well, organizing a closet. They will not happen without taking the initiative, investing some time, doing the work.

Let’s say you’re learning Spanish — and then you decide you’d like to visit Spain. The obstacles get a little bigger, maybe with regard to finances or getting time away from a job.

You may have to think through larger trade-offs involved in the endeavor.

In other circumstances, the longing for something has little to no bearing on getting it.

I may have thought i interviewed well for that job, but the ultimate determinant of whether i land the position is out of my hands.

Especially in the arena of relationships, where we want someone we love to be healthier, or happier, or to love us back, we can only do so much toward fostering that reality.

What we do have some influence over is how we choose to view such situations, how we cope with and compartmentalize them.

Our lives are an amalgam of randomness, consequences, and our ways of seeing and sorting them.

There’s a delicate art to identifying and distinguishing between desires, goals and expectations.

And it’s a balancing act to prioritize and pursue what we want, while simultaneously working on being ok with the possibility of not getting it.

I’ve noticed since last spring that it can be very gratifying to see things go as planned –and that it can be very gratifying to be able to roll with it when they don’t.

Well, i guess that would cover just about everything.

Which suggests another spring gleaning — gratitude, then, is always in order.

Things spring brings…

spring flowers

Tired of being tricked, the spring flowers on this bright and breezy Wisconsin morning seem to be turning toward the sun and asking, “You mean it this time?”

Or maybe that’s me asking.

As is typical in these parts, spring announced itself early with some pleasant warm days, then taunted us with a few chilly snaps before agreeing to stay for good.  

Nature’s spring tantalizing sent me looking for a prior spring-themed post i’d written. I was surprised to find — in the way that the passing of time is nearly always surprising — that it has already been three years since that post (It’s the Thaw That Counts).

I was also startled at the contrast between that spring’s perspective and this one’s. That one had come during a period when i was still dealing with repercussions of a life-altering personal crisis.

As pleasant as today’s gentle breeze is, even more so is this reminder of how far behind me that particular storm is.

As i’ve said in the context of other transitions, for me one of the most important factors of confronting any challenging experience is determining to do so with complete honesty.

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August haiku…

calm after storm

In April i wrote about how my spring seemed delayed this year. With summer came, finally, a return to rhythm, a settling in to ordinariness after a crisis. At such times the mundane is very welcome.

Arriving at the other side of a crisis — whether a medical one, relational, financial or otherwise — means discovering how much of it will stay with you, and how much of it you can truly move beyond. The damage is done — the healing is not. I’ve decided that the scars i bring along into the future do not need to define me. They are significant, but they are not the most significant thing about me.

You know how when you’re looking for a song video, some of them have the lyrics superimposed over the images?  I like to think of the cancer recovery as text i choose to scroll behind the trees and flowers and friends.

Thinking about that foreground of life moving forward, i thought i’d try my hand at a haiku. I realize this poetic form does not need a title, but mine has one anyway.  


Eliot’s April

Cruel month it was

Dangling taste of sunny days

Summer came and went

Quiet September

No ceasing seasons’ passing

Gladder spring next year


Wherever you are in facing life’s challenges, i wish you hope.

The gift of spring — it’s the thaw that counts…


Just because spring is here doesn’t mean winter is over.

Such is the message nature seems to send with early spring’s warming days but still freezing nights. The poet T.S. Eliot wrote that April is the cruelest month; the delivery of what we are being promised and afforded samplings of comes a bit later than the moment we feel ready for it — and takes longer than we care to be made to wait.

The delay of spring of another sort accounts for why i haven’t posted here as often lately as anticipated, my own elongated ‘April’ starting months ago, and similarly unkind in its aroused expectation and disappointing deferral. I’m referring to my extended recovery from a serious illness, which i wrote about last December. In that post, i explained why the illness and recovery would not be a primary topic for me on this blog.

I recently decided that doesn’t mean i won’t *ever* write about it…     Continue reading