Monday, March 28, 2011

Flowers Measure the Progress of Spring

Empathic person to empathic person, we laid on my bed last night and we talked about difficult things. We are both strongly affected by the emotional currents that surround us and we both affect those currents equally strongly. Throughout the day yesterday, small conversations hinted at the challenges our shared nature pose in our respective lives. "I must find a way to be so connected but without it becoming destructive". A line embedded in a brief conversation about something funny. "I want to be this person but I have to be careful, it can be too powerful for me at times," mentioned while one of us was getting a glass of water at the sink. Empathy means openness and empathy can mean that when we extend our complete emotional selves to others, it may absorb what is around us without boundary or limit. It may hit a wall with others, it may hit a nerve with others. Positive and negative flow in equally when one is truly open. To be truly empathetic it requires that you are truly open. A sense of protecting yourself can't be in the forefront of your mind, you must allow the emotion in without filter to begin to know the life and meaning of the other persons emotional place.

This morning, I woke up remembering something that we had discussed late in the night. Something beautiful and powerful and hard to discuss. We discussed the progress of spring. Off of the patio at my childhood home where my mother still lives there are small planter boxes enclosed with railroad ties. In these boxes there are flower bulbs that have been at that house since shortly after we moved in. I remember planting some of them. I remember planting Grape Hyacinths specifically. I was wondering last night, and wondering still this morning how spring is progressing at that house. How the timing of flowers is progressing.

First come the crocuses. They will bloom gladly after just 2 or 3 days of sunlight and 45 degree temperatures. They will bloom when even other places in the yard still hold snow because they are locked in shadows. They are persistent and tough. They come in waves, depending on the variety but always in the temperature range that feels, bodily, that winter is letting loose its grasp on the earth. Then come the hyacinths. They are the most delicate. They come before the daffodils, tulips and irises. They need something very specific, they need day and night to be more in balance than the crocuses do. Many springs skip past the 46 - 52 degree days with nights remaining above freezing and no frost that the hyacinths need and they may appear only very briefly. The grape hyacinths at my childhood home were planted just outside of my bedroom and bathroom windows. I know the smell of those flowers with my entire memory, my entire body and my entire being. They arrive on the first days when, though it is cold, you may open the windows to let some freshness in after so long locking yourself away from cold and in the warmth. The smell of hyacinth would come into my window when I would open it briefly to check the day. My rhythm with spring, to feel the air, to check the day, to see the subtle shifts in grasses once dormant, now pushing the yellow to the tips of their leaves and pulling green up from their roots, to open the window on a day of optimism that things. do. change. smells like hyacinth.
Then the daffodils come, the tulips and the irises. These are parts of spring I remember from my grandmother's garden, not our own. I know that there is one poppy planted in the front garden patch but I don't recall if we ever had the other flowers. Perhaps I don't recall because they don't have a smell. The azalea bush is planted near the poppy and always precedes the poppy in blooming. It has a blaze of color, though the plant has never really grown large, even a small burst is evident when you approach the house. The two lilac bushes sit at the corners of the front of the house. The first days that the windows can be open from 10:00 - 3:00p without making the furnace kick on coincide with the smell of lilac.

I would like to know how spring is progressing at my childhood home. I would like to know if anyone is noticing it as it unfolds and passes. I would like to assure the place that, while I am not there to notice, I am extending all of my feeling to that place, completely open without boundaries in an effort to feel the time of the crocus, the hyacinth, the azalea and the lilac. I am stretching myself toward home without reservation and feeling an acute sense of the progress of spring internal, distance from memories of spring and the subtle movements that I witnessed and took into my body as cues to teach me and to remind me that things. do. change.

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