Saturday, April 4, 2009

Springing Into Spring

This piece was written for the April edition of Moonshine magazine.  To view the whole magazine, please visit

I recently had the good fortune to travel to Virginia and back over the first weekend of spring. Driving northward from the bountiful blooms of the Florida panhandle to the still-skeletal trees of the Appalachians, it seemed at first as if we were traveling back into winter. On the contrary, though, the longer I spent staring, rapt, out the windows, the more attuned my vision became to the subtler signs of mountain spring.

Where the azaleas, tulips, redbuds, and daffodils had already danced onto the stage of the deep South, singing “Spring is here!” the trees and plants of the mountains seemed, still, to be holding their breath, anxious and waiting in the wings for their cue.

This made me think that spring is the season of held breaths. Starting with that poor, beleaguered groundhog in early February, we’re all waiting for Mother Nature to tell us “It’s all right. You can breathe. I’m going to bring the flowers and the leaves and the warm sun and the soft breezes back this year. I keep my promises.”

And we wait and hope and wait and look for buds and tiny sprigs of peridot green and wait and then one bright morning, the natural world bursts forth in its party ruffles like a line of can-can dancers. The birds strike up the chorus and it’s time to celebrate!

So, artists, photographers, sculptors, crafters, knitters, jewelers, weavers, and writers, it is time for us to join the party. Not just to document the joy, but to take some time to revel – to let our own party ruffles fly out around us as we twirl in the confetti of petals. To strut our fine feathers. To turn our faces to the sun, smile, and say, “Welcome back!”

So get out there and party with the primavera! Take all of your supplies outside on the next sunny day and let loose. See your work in the truest (and prettiest) light: sunlight. Listen to the springsong and feel the warming wind, smell the blossoms on the fruit trees and trace the softest petals with the tip of your finger.

Take it all in and then let it go freely into new and inspired work. And, try to remember to dedicate at least one piece to Mother Nature – she deserves a thank you for always keeping her promises.

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