Late Spring 2011 - The Gifts of Spring
I've just returned from a short stay in Mexico where I head every year around this time to hang out at the beach, make some headway into my stack of books, eat well and only when I feel like it, and not set the alarm clock. By my standards, I do a pretty good job of being a slug while I'm there, and I spend as much time outside as possible.
The beach backs up to a desert, a landscape that I find enchanting, and so my daily walks are slower than usual, allowing me to take it all in -- or try to, anyway. Even so, though I'd walked the same trail a number of times and thought I was familiar with its flora and the various creatures frequenting the area, when a friend who lives there asked me if I'd seen the hummingbird nests, I was taken aback. No, I hadn't. I didn't even believe him at first because I couldn't imagine how I'd missed them. So he told me where to look for them on my next walk, but I returned still insisting that they weren't there. Long story short, he came with me on my next hike and, sure enough, pointed out three nests. Incredibly tiny, expertly camouflaged, awesomely constructed, each nest held eggs smaller than the tiniest of navy beans.
My first thought was how crazy it was that I'd missed the nests in the first place, let alone after he told me where to find them! After all, my walks were meandering, my intention was to be in the moment, and I was in just about my favorite place. But my second thought was how easy it is for so much of what goes on in nature to escape us and how we become more and more disconnected from the natural world in the process. Or maybe it's the other way around. Or maybe it's both.
Spring is a season teeming with new life and with its own unique character. There are real strawberries, not the ones grown on the other side of the world, bred purely to travel well. Daffodils pop up in someone's garden a few miles away and are sold at the local farmers' market. On spring evenings, we can be outside for the first time in months without a jacket. We may even pass three tiny hummingbird nests on our walks, even if we don't see them.
May we all discover some of the gifts of spring this year. Perhaps a good way to do this is to first assume that the gifts are there, which of course they are, and then open ourselves to the fresh possibilities.