The Patience of Spring

To a gardener, the slow pace of a nature’s reawakening can try our patience, but it can also teach it, too.

What is Spring but the time for renewal – and growth.

And to remind us what growth is – there’s the garden.

Come March, gardener (or garden lover), we start to look for signs of life.

Anxious to see some promise, we peer at still frozen ground, fingers gently poking away leaves until a tiny shoot revealed. Or look upward towards still naked boughs…And sigh.

Until something – anything - spotted.

A shoot! Hooray!

A time to rejoice because of course, while the garden is all about growing plants…it reminds us of all that a garden gives us…

Happiness, for instance, as in the joy of growing something beautiful, or edible, or bee-friendly!

Strength, because you can’t dig and weed without getting stronger.

Dedication, because you need to weed and water and weed and water…

A Sense of Caring because as a gardener you are caretaker of delicate things indeed.

A garden also grows something lovely, Patience.

Because yes, even as Spring is celebrated, plant life takes its own sweet time, and in doing so reminds of something that‘s often hard to do — waiting.

Thus, while in late March and early April gardeners yearn to do that spring “tidy” to clear the earth of twigs and those mounds of leaves left as mulch, we remember that the winter garden has become dormitories for bees, butterflies, bugs, all of which in our climate changing world are fighting for survival. So until the creatures and shoots emerge with warmer air, we must wait.

And that means patience.

Since patience is not everybody’s thing, here’s a practice that inspires us – in a Tao sort of way – to help us go with the flow.

Starting now, slide feet into sensible garden-type shoes and head outside to garden (or local green space) with a cup of tea. Park yourself. Look closely at the area around you. You may not see much “growth” but with luck you will be able to feel some “plant energy”. Do this every day. Tomorrow (and those coming tomorrows) you may see more shoots, a bloom even, the slow budding of trees – a canopy in process. Meanwhile because every day will bring new surprise – don’t miss the other Spring flings that are happening…The courting pigeons and the flurry of activity as sparrows, robins, red wing blackbirds and starlings busily prep nests for the arrival of their nestlings,

Then one day – Mother Nature delivers…

There’s the surprise sighting of the first magnolia/cherry tree on your walk around the block.

Or the first peek of a bright yellow daffodil in your flower bed!

And yes, there’s the hungry chirps from the tangle of your vines, the nestlings have hatched!

All this a reminder that while “instant gratification”, like the digital connections of our electronic devices, can be convenient, but there’s no better joy - or pleasure -  than the rewards that come from learning the patience that comes from waiting. And of course, patience brings us back to the Tao mindfulness of  “living in the now” in which each long-awaited bud and bloom is welcomed with pleasure - and let’s thank the garden, and nature,  for that!)

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