The Winter In Between
February 13, 2022
Here we are in mid-February, more than half way through a winter that has barely been and not yet to the spring of who knows what. Sunrise has started to move ahead, now 30 minutes earlier than it was a month ago. It speeds up for the next two months, moving 40 minutes earlier by mid-March we switch the clocks and almost another hour earlier by mid-April.
Nature is still wary that it’s not really spring, despite unusually warm temperatures. The lake froze, the lake melted, the lake might freeze again with a winter storm coming this week despite some 60 degree (F) days. The cardinals and house finches are singing now when I open my garage door in the morning, but even though know it’s just a little too early.
The rest of the world is warily trying to spring back to normal, while many of us are still completely uncertain of what is safe and what is not. People are still sick, supply chains are still broken, the crazy misinformation feeding emotional exhaustion still seems to have a lot of steam and those that want to take advantage of the raw emotions are still working hard to undermine community, connection and democracy.
I look to nature and say, “so now what?” Patiently she answers, “we wait”. Waiting is paradoxically so challenging when it often seems like it should be the easiest state of all. Perhaps it’s living in a culture that always wants to be growing and accomplishing and moving towards one goal or another. Waiting in that lens is almost unnatural. Perhaps it’s the pull of rising earlier, longer days and so much uncertainty that feels like it needs a plan, some action, some movement.
Yet in nature, waiting is still common. The winter ducks show no hurry. They are feeding and playing and surviving the freeze/thaw cycle, allowing themselves to rest up for the migration ahead. The trees wait, patiently, not putting out too many buds too early. They know there will be time ahead after the resting time is through.
The kinglets continue to flit through the branches, eating what bugs they can find. They pause from time to time, giving one of their patented kinglet stares, but though they move quickly they seem very relaxed to me. They seem untroubled by what lies ahead, trusting they will know when it is time to move.
The herons are resting in the trees in the morning, sleeping in the sunlight and maybe dreaming about the nesting time to come. The eagles are still allowing the winter visitors and sub-adults to hang around, not yet time to run them off to find their own summer homes.
This waiting is not exactly passive. There is rest, there is recovery, but there is also something else. An energy, building, full of possibility and just waiting until there is enough to send its tender shoots up into the world.
I am trying to learn from nature to be patient in the in between. I am dreaming about new ideas, where this newsletter might go and what might come in the months ahead. I’m also trying to be patient, rest and continue to learn to feel into my life, relax into uncertainty and let go of anxiety.
Sunrise has started to move ahead, now 30 minutes earlier than it was a month ago. It will be 40 minutes earlier a month from now when we switch the clocks and almost another hour earlier by mid-April. This can be the time of year I always feel just a little bit behind and it’s easy to let this push start to quicken my inner clock. And so I ask again and again, “what now?” I continue to hear, “we wait.”
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