When I was younger (teen-hood, from 12 to 18), I lived in Greenville, NC. When we moved there, there wasn’t much by way of a connected community for us.
But my mom quickly met up with the local artsy community, starting up a contra dance and local artist event group. We did find the local Friends, as in the Society of Friends (Quakers), and we also started meeting up with a group that celebrated the Equinoxes and Solstices.
Four times a year, our facilitator Amy would send out these little invitational pamphlets and we would meet in the park by the river to celebrate the turning of the seasons. It was here that I was introduced to the idea of shamanism and other Native American concepts of spirituality.
March 19, 2020, was this year’s spring equinox, the day where the length of daylight is finally equal to the length of darkness. The beginning of spring and the march toward the summer solstice when the longest day of the year reigns supreme.
Usually, this is a time of burgeoning plant and animal life, new offspring entering a warming world (northern hemisphere!). Birds are singing and chattering, the frogs are starting their collective song, the land smells fresh and scented.
There is a sense of renewal, of opening, life waking up from a long sleep. Of course, this does tend to depend on where you live (in CA, our flora and fauna are active all year round — and even here, you know when spring has arrived).
However, A Looming Shadow
But, and speaking of California, I write from this inside my home. Sure, my window is open, letting that slowly warming, wonderful fresh air in. However, usually I might be writing this in a cafe and there will be none of that in the near future.
The entirety of my state is “Shelter In Place”, practically one step away from that dreaded word, “Lockdown”.
We humans are in uncertain times. Whatever you may think of the novel COVID-19 virus, whether the response is too much or not enough; it is absolutely certain that we are experiencing an event that is unprecedented in most of our lifetimes.
(I say most because there is actually a list of the “oldest people in the world” and that list starts in 1903!)
I personally know of nothing in my own personal lifetime or recent known history where entire states have been asked to “Shelter In Place”, where countries have been placed in full lockdown, where travel is being shut down, where national borders are being closed (altogether, as a global thing, I know these things happen separately throughout history).
So, Then What?
And yet, as we sit here inside our homes wondering what’s next, life still goes on. I don’t mean that we still need food and toilet paper or making an income, but that spring still comes.
The birds still sing, the frogs still join a chorus, the plant life still grows new and green. Indeed, most of the natural world doesn’t care what’s going on in regards to humanity and its travails. Well, this is generally true no matter what’s happening with us.
Yeah, it’s going to be a rough ride for the humans. We are socially oriented creatures, who rely on touch, on connection, and separation, even for us introverts, is going to be hard. The financial hardships coming are going to be difficult. The anxiety of the whole event and of the unknown will live in each of us, in different ways.
When I say this next thing, please remember I am not saying that you should suddenly set aside all the worry and the fear, the darkness and shadow, for some “fabulously positive, shiny outlook”. Both the shadow and the light exist in these times, all mixed up together, and we cannot eschew one for the other:
Even in the midst of all this, remember that the seasons will still turn, the birds will still sing, the air will warm and the breeze will move. For now, for most of us, we can still take our socially distant walks outside, in our neighborhoods and in the parks, to enjoy the arrival of spring.