A Springtime Reminder of Hope
Six months ago I wrote about planting bulbs as an act of hope.https://internationalministries.org/an-act-of-hope/
In early March, after walking my living labyrinth planted with three kinds of bulbs, these words came to me:
Barefoot, cold penetrating the soles of my feet, I walk gingerly on the path formed by wooden rounds, circling slowly towards the center where I’ll sit for a minute or so. Each day, a new green sprout reaches upward, a bit too slowly for my taste. I want to see more progress, a bloom, and evidence of life. Yet, the slow growth grounds me in a way. I am held in patient pause, forced to look for the small, incremental shifts that escape my gaze when I’m in a hurry. With each step I notice the clutter of fallen leaves slowly decomposing, tree limbs tossed onto the path by winds of the night, footprints of deer passing through. I try not to be annoyed, the constant maintenance of the perfect path is wearying. I fight the urge to declutter, moving forward, noticing, naming, but refusing to stay stuck. Hugging the curves, tender green shoots of the bulbs I planted are emerging with the promise of more. I smile remembering how shriveled and dead looking they were in the Fall. Now they are changing, transformed by some miraculous organic process that I barely understand. I see the signs, glimpses of life, they draw me further in. I am captivated, caught, coerced to keep moving, slowly, one step at a time. The mystery of what is coming, the colors that will eventually emerge, the hope of beauty on the brink of bursting open. I can’t wait, but I must. There is a mix of bulbs planted. I arrive at the center, surrounded by daffodils, not yet blooming, but easy to imagine their yellow heads soon popping out from their green hoodies. The hyacinths are forming in the fractal way they do, to line the straight paths towards and away from the center. The surprises that await me most are the irises that line the edges of each concentric circle leading to the center. I found them on the side of the road, generously offered by a kind stranger. Ten bags overflowing with random rhizomes waiting to be planted, tended and then welcomed in all of their glory. I won’t know for a while what exactly they will look like. Until then, I’ll walk, I’ll wait, I’ll hope.
Now it’s April of 2023. As the rains continue to fall in between moments of sunshine and a warming wind, I see signs of life unfolding. This living labyrinth that I planted last October has survived the six month mole burrowing, deer munching challenges of its natural canvas. The wooden rounds are a bit wonky, but the path is still clear. The clover planted in the Fall is patchy and interspersed with volunteer unknown forest “weeds” that seem to grow unaided this time of year. I’ve decided to wait and see what comes as the sunshine and growth increase. This experiment of mine has taught me a few lessons about waiting and continues to spark my curiosity with each new contemplative wander. I wonder if I should plant more early bloomers in between the irises so there are flowers blooming around the path all season long or if it is enough to know that more blooms are coming, thus embracing the wait. I wonder if the deer will leave the iris flowers to bloom since they’ve already munched on the greens. I wonder if there will be enough for all of us. Enough nibbles and enough beauty for both? I know there are no guarantees, and yet I’ll choose to hope. I am learning to notice the small shifts both on and in the path and in me. I am learning to love what comes without trying to control the outcome. I am learning to appreciate the slow ripening of time, the shifting soundscape of migrating birdsong, and the surprising encouragement of uncertain survival. I can’t wait to see, smell and feel the glory in the round, in full blooming, brilliant color. Yet, I must. When it finally comes, I’ll be ready. I’d love you to come by for a wander and a welcome, but if you can’t, I’ll share some pics soon.
Gratefully yours on the Way,