Mary Oliver refers to the "lust of the season" in one of her poems, "Spring" (Owls and Other Fantasies, Poems and Essays, p. 4) and that's exactly what these early days of "almost spring" seem like to me.
We lust for the warmth of the sun and for the freedom from heavy jackets and boots. This is the time of year when children are apt to lose mittens and hats, taking them off as they walk to school, even though it is still cool in the morning. They are sort of stuffed into pockets without thought to next winter. When you take your next walk, you may see some of those lost mittens, soggy and forlorn in pools in melting snow.
Back to lusting. We lust for the days growing longer and for green and for light rain without fear of icy roads. We lust for pussy willows and forsythia and for cotton pajamas, instead of flannel, and for salads instead of hearty soups. We lust for April and May and pretend that March is almost over. We lust for the sound of lawnmowers, instead of snowblowers. We are happy to see ice rinks turn into small seas of evaporating water. Ice skates and hockey sticks are replaced by bikes and snowboards. The cardinal in our yard sings determinedly in the morning, staking his claim to this patch. He'll get no argument from me, but I wonder who else lusts after this space and who will win.
We lust for clean windows and even cleaner cars. We think about cutting our hair and wearing something other than black. Is it too early to take our good winter coat to the dry cleaners?
The biggest lusters of all, however, are the gardeners, who have been paging throughout seed catalogs since January and with each walk from the back yard to the garage door envision future plantings. If you are a gardener, are your fingers itching? Is your nose twitching? I don't mean to squelch your eagerness, but do remember the month is still March.
Still, there is this:
Listen! In the earth, the seeds are stirring and making
noise, like the birds whose song has been silenced by
winter. Now the snow is being devoured by sun, our
elder and in the branches, the persistence of our
prayers is bringing the birds to life.
Nancy Wood, Shaman's Circle
As you lust for this new season, what is it that needs to come to life within you? Just as we begin to see the river flowing once again, what needs to thaw in your heart and soul? What is ready to unfold within you? What nudges do you feel? What signs of creativity and growth do you begin to feel?
Like the springtime land, so the inner land is thawed
and re-energized. A sense of loving and being loved
warms the interior places that were cold and dormant
in wintertime…There are times when spring enters the
heart dramatically. An unexpected insight can bring
about immense clarity and encouraging self-revelation.
A song, a vivid dream, a piece of poetry, meeting a
kindred spirit, a walk through the woods can become a
beautiful inner rising akin to a resurrection experience.
When these spring-like encounters take place, our inner
search is blessed with a new and invigorating sense of
purpose and direction.
Joyce Rupp and Macrina Wiederkehr, The Circle
of Life, The Heart's Journey Through the Seasons,
I have always been a winter person, content in my cave, but this year I feel more prepared for the lustiness, the gushiness of spring.
My inner landscape is changing, and I welcome the rush of warmth and fresh air. I am not young, but I am not yet in the waning winter months of my life, at least I don't think I am, and I feel myself awakening in surprising ways. Spring is a time of surprises, after all, and I might as well join the band.
What do you lust for as spring begins to arrive? What needs to thaw within you in order to be present to this new season? How will your inner growth add to the growth we see all around us? I would love to know.