I exit an evening exercise class to daylight. Contrasted with the darkness of prior weeks, the streaks of pink in the sky invite me to hope. I feel a brightening in my spirit. The light always returns!
This season, my soul mirrors the winter weather pattern of the valley where I live. One day all is frozen, at a standstill, shut down; the next brings unexpected thaw, warmth of spring, new life. I long for constancy. Solid anchoring. Steadfastness. Instead, I experience upheaval, start and stop, push and pull.
Maybe school will be closed again tomorrow!
A child’s voice rings out with unbridled excitement as I walk my dog downtown past the children’s museum and regional library. Frozen early temperatures close schools for a second day in the morning, and by afternoon the area is bustling with parents and children.
It better not be! It is sixty degrees out here!
His mother’s voice strains with exasperation, wearied by another day of disruption. She engages her child’s enthusiasm while containing her own frustration. I catch her eye with an understanding look. The dog offers diversion for all.
Back home I notice tiny pink buds on my favorite tree.
Looking out of the upstairs laundry room window while sorting socks, there they are. Blue sky shines between criss-crossed branches, but not for long. Time passes more quickly each year.
When I was a girl a tree stood in the front yard of our duplex, perfect for climbing and playing. It filled the living room window. One early spring, I received a letter from my grandpa telling me that it was a good time to start watching that tree’s branches for buds.
He advised me to sketch it daily, watching for changes as it blossomed. I do not remember if I did. I think I tried to but could not keep up with the task. I remember that letter each spring when I notice the trees’ first buds. I feel my unfinished work.
I wonder if that is why I enjoy sketching my favorite tree now, as I watch it change through the seasons. Spring buds. Summer leaves. Fall colors. Winter branches. Always with the windchimes hanging below.
I watch for change, anticipate change, long for change, resist change.
Change is the constant, and in this season it brings growth. Growth in recognizing limits and needs. Growth in naming feelings and fears. Growth in learning when to step back and when to lean in.
There is a change in the sunlight streaming through my bedroom windows during the morning hours. Lighter, brighter, it calls me to action and movement, bringing new energy to the space. It pours in at higher angles, glinting off of different surfaces, inviting fresh perspectives.
I open to the season’s call when I rise up to engage each day amidst resistance and fear. Taking the moments as they come, I remember the girl inside, excited about receiving a letter in the mail, eager for connection with her grandpa, hopeful to try something new. I think of the many trees that have anchored her through the years with their constant change. I feel gratitude.
Today is sunny and warm. Springlike weather allows me to wear a sweater while running errands, leaving the heavy winter coat and scarf on their hooks by the door. I cannot pack them away yet, because there are snowflakes in tonight’s forecast.
I move with openness through the afternoon, picking up each child from school. I soak up the bright sunshine and notice the vibrant colors, grateful for the moments when freedom feels close.
Julie McClay lives in Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley with her high school sweetheart and four of their eight children. She is a lover of stories and words. Having completed Training Certificates 1 and 2 through the Allender Center, she continues learning to face the past honestly while living in the moment and looking towards the future. She finds story work healing and hopeful and seeks to offer this invitation of healing and hope to others. She digs through her thoughts and feelings here.