“Turn your face to the sun and let the shadows fall behind you.”
Spring has come through the ground and filtered into the air. When I breathe, I can smell trees that were planted decades ago coming to life again. I imagine the hands that dug into the earth and packed it over precious roots. I think of pruning and fig trees and my grandmother. I remember a dress I used to wear – it had petticoats and flowers, I used to wear it and walk alone through the garden. My toes cling to the earth when I walk, barefoot, across wet grass and feel the energy absorb through the soles of my feet; my neck feels looser, my head lighter. With this new flexibility of my bones comes a resilience of the mind. Growth and renewal are all around me and suddenly I remember that I am a living being, not a machine. Machines do not need the sun.
I need the sun.
The feel of it on my skin reminds me that I am growing. I cannot perform photosynthesis but I do remember the way it works – sun in, energy out. Like breath, but that has another name. What I eat has come from the sun and the earth and I am the conduit between them. When I was younger the only way that I could remember that the sun rose in the rose in the east and set in the west was from a Shakespeare quotation. It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. In the mornings I salute the east, grounding my feet and lifting my heart to the sunrise. In the same way as the songbirds feel the light on their feathers and start to sing, I see sunshine and blooms in spring and I feel like my life has started again. I become a newer version of myself, one connected to gardens I have walked through.
It’s important to remember that the sun shines on all people the same way. Clouds don’t choose victims, the sky is innocent and childish, the sun keeps burning. I said we are not machines but our earth is solar powered, coaxing green shoots from the earth. That’s what always surprises me about spring: how quickly the grass grows. Like a celebration. It’s the same every year but it never loses its wonder – leaves have been browning and falling and budding for millennia but each time I look at them my heart softens.
Look at nature. Find beauty in every movement your body makes – watch how the earth shifts around you as you shift around the earth. Lie on the grass and feel the ground underneath your spine, supporting it. Think of flower bulbs awakening underground and pushing through the earth, think of the journey, how every year a small child is amazed to see daffodils. And blossoms on trees may freeze into tiny, colorful ice cubes but they are still as beautiful. Where I grew up we used to drive past fields upon fields of sunflowers, and sometimes I would walk out into them and feel like a child among giants.
It’s like spring is telling me to turn my face to the sun and wonder.