March Madness: An Energetic StormMar 13, 2022
An intention to find calm amidst seasonal twists and turns and temperature shifts
Oh March…what can I say? You get me every time.
After a winter that has seemed longer than others here in the Catskill Mountains…ice storms, power outages, snow, extreme drops in temperature leaving us exposed and vulnerable (and in need of renting hotel rooms), we reemerge from hibernation looking for signs of life.
She takes her time arriving in the Hudson Valley, yet we are hopeful. We look for buds on trees, growth to burst through the ground, daylight to increase. And yet, she pokes and provokes and taunts us…not yet. We flocked outside on a recent seventy-degree day, smiling, unpeeling layers of clothing — only to then run for cover to shelter from another incoming storm the next.
What’s it going to be?
She mirrors my tenuous nature. March stirs me. She awakens rage and rapture, an internal dialog of unrest.
I feel antsy and agitated, more sensitive to sounds, smells, feelings. Inspired by birds singing and geese honking, I wake with lightness, daydreaming about soft spring rain and the smell of sweet grass. But snow covers the ground. It’s not yet time to open the outside garden, yet my mind races to the stress of summer. I feel caught.
Like the bare branches of the trees, naked and waiting for their leaves, I feel raw and easily irritated. It’s no longer time to hide beneath winter or time to jump into summer. It is time to be with the changes of the season and myself and this space of in between. Maybe you can relate?
It isn’t spring yet, and I drown myself in summer worries thinking of the prep, the gardening, staffing, gas prices, food costs, long hours, wars. I get too far ahead…too deep in my head.
Recently, my acupuncturist, Rebecca Steele, helped me understand this experience more. Understanding what was beneath my feelings as opposed to dismissing them honestly helped me so much. In traditional Chinese medicine, spring is represented by the element of “wood” — and wood exemplifies growth and change internally and externally. So, it makes perfect sense that we feel agitated, like being awoken from a nap when you are not yet ready to leave the comfort of your cozy bed. 5 more minutes please!
My usual trick of getting out ahead of myself and rushing right into summer in my mind actually causes quite a ruckus in my system. Summer is represented by the element of fire which is associated with movement, energy and expansion. Summer is about abundance, and this is definitely evidenced by Mother Nature’s bounty in our gardens and on our plates.
But when we get too ahead of ourselves like I tend to do, we actually ignite the fire — which explains why we feel hypersensitive. I was literally putting wood on the fire. Now that knowledge itself doesn’t change the problem, but it did make me feel less crazy! Ha.
Yes, it was time to step away from the self-lit bonfire. And yes, even after a complain-worthy winter, the medicine was in slowing down, reserving my energy and resources.
I had to embrace spring instead of rush by her so quickly. She certainly deserves that!
How often we move at an unsustainable pace, missing the ride. Right now, I’ve decided to consciously slow down, to put down the matches and stop stoking the fire. I’m sitting with wood, daydreaming, waiting, breathing. I ask my liver and gall bladder (the organs associated with spring) what they need. And I promise myself that I won’t rush ahead.
Is there a place in your life where you do this?
I have found a key this past year. It opens the door to change. If I change my mind, everything else follows. I’m learning to coach myself; to speak more kindly, more gently…and I give myself time to process without judgement. I remind myself to be here now.
Now is all we have anyway. Thanks for the reminder, March.
—Lea Haas, Owner, The Garden Cafe Woodstock