This first appeared as a weekly column in The Finger Lakes Times: http://www.fltimes.com/opinion/denim-spirit-tuning-in-listening-to-time/article_1405159a-0404-11e7-b6ca-77e1b60d4498.html
Can you feel it?
It is a rending of pressurized elements; slight movement in tightly packed earth, gravel, decaying bits and pieces of wood, moisture as it freezes and thaws. It is difficult to know if that rending is a tearing apart, as when an infant pushes, coerces, and compels its mother’s body to open for release. It could be more lithe, the supple green shoots making their way like water, or tai chi, by way of least resistance.
Can you hear it?
It is temping to kneel down, brush away brown leaves ugly upon the lumpy black topsoil of the garden, and hold an ear to the ground. The sounds are imaginable – a liquid squelching, suctioned kind of slithering through the deep space beneath our vision. What will be brilliant blossoms, sturdy vegetables, ordinary ground cover, and a chaos of greens, are even now agitating their pathways toward the sun.
Can you fathom it?
A mere seven degrees on Sunday morning in Geneva, snow still insisting upon its place among us, and likely many more cold days and nights coming our way. Icy winds, sleet, slush, soggy damp cold all taunting us from their niche in the weeks ahead. Even so, it’s coming.
Remember how it looks?
Time-lapse photography captures a little green thing below the surface of the earth, looking almost like a salamander or other slithering sentient being, wiggling its way upward this way and that, a current of life insisting upon fresh air and sun. We have seen what it looks like in the magic of time delay, but we are left to trust what we cannot witness ourselves: Spring is coming.
It is an equinoctial double-exposure, when two seasons over-lap and we feel them both at one and the same time. The waves of spring begin lapping their way onto our shore, even as the waves of winter still pound the surf just before their return into the ocean of time.
Mostly we do not hear the ethereal echoes of eternity while living between seasons, not as we would while standing on a beach. Our deafness is because changing barometric pressures, wildly fluctuating temperatures, and shifting elements in the atmosphere jerk us around. But for those who take the time to feel it, and hear it, and even imagine it, the dance of winter and spring offers a pleasurable window onto the elegance of time.
One indicator of a healthy mind, and one element of a spiritual practice, is the willingness and ability to listen to time. It can be done listening to ancient trees talk, reading the braille of igneous rock, meditating upon the flow of elderly rivers, and standing with feet collapsing in the sand as waves washing over them. The seasons speak to us also, if we listen. If we slow ourselves down and listen to the changes inching and leaping around us, we may hear the elegant wisdom of the seasons as it whispers through our days.