“I am going to try to pay attention to the spring. I am going to look around at all the flowers, and look up at the hectic trees. I am going to close my eyes and listen.” Anne Lamott
This being the fifth Sunday of the month, I'm taking a break from my weekly mandala making to reflect on the season and my practice. Instead of gathering natural elements on my morning walk, I took my camera with me to capture some of the beauty that may not be available for my mandala making next week.
In fact, a characteristic of the season that I've noticed the most is how rapidly the landscape can change, like when the blackberry blossom I noticed on a Monday had already shed it's petals by Sunday.
Spring's show is full of quick cameos that are easy to miss if one is not paying attention. A gift of this practice is that I'm now noticing more of nature's little flashes of beauty that I've previously missed - even after almost twenty years of walking the same route day after day.
The unpredictable nature of nature also was also sadly apparent when many of my perennial favorites, such as the magnolia bush in my front yard and the giant forsythia hedge in my neighbor's, budded prematurely due to an unseasonably warm February. A March freeze took them before they were able to achieve the fullness of their beauty and my imagined mandalas featuring their blooms never manifested.
Even though disappointing, without the typical show stoppers grabbing my attention, I was able to notice the variety of colors available in the tiny flowers growing wild along the ground, and the soft texture of the tender grasses growing in clumps on the side of the road.
"If all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wildflowers." - Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
Mother nature is persistent if not predictable. A few little magnolia blossoms made it late to the party, and by Easter the dogwoods were in full bloom reminding us of a power greater than death.
If you were to ask me what my favorite season is, I'd typically say Autumn. It is no wonder that I began my Sunday Morning Mandala practice in November - inspired by the vibrant colors and the natural invitation towards introspection the season offers.
However, sitting here on the edge of May as the world turns every imaginable shade of green, I'm reminded once again how much I absolutely adore Spring. Comedian Steve Martin once said that you can't play a sad song on the banjo, and along those lines I would offer that it is practically impossible to be a pessimist in the month of May.
"Where flowers bloom, so does hope." -Ladybird Johnson
Since November, many of us have found it difficult to remain optimistic. And yet, mother nature reminds us that even through rapid change, unpredictability, and disappointment she is persistent, adaptable, and always offering up beauty no matter how harsh the circumstances. If we are willing follow her lead, I believe there is every reason to be hopeful.