Sunday, March 31, 2013

what i learned from my chives

spring eggs come naturally in a variety of hues
goose egg (center), quail eggs (speckled), chicken eggs (outside)
(we buy a variety of eggs because of Olivia's allergies)

Last year when the spring sunshine came sauntering up to my door stoop, I felt unready.  I still had my table set for old man winter.  Even though the soup had gone long cold in the tureen, I did not want to give up hope that my weathered old guest would arrive. 

Still, he did not, and spring shouldered its way in the door against my will. 

I worried I'd never see my old friend again, and I had needed him.

The bitterness of a truly cold winter allows me to use one of my favorite words: hunker. 

Hunkering asks only that we endure, which makes room for other things like rest and healing.   It allows us to turn a defensive back to nasty weather so that we can savor endings such as loss, failure or grief in an introspective and wound-licking kind of way. 

Last spring, I felt tired--unready for the extroverted demands of spring because an unusually temperate winter never allowed me that process of turning inward. 

This year, the old geezer at least made a showing--even if he did arrive to VA more than fashionably late. We got very little snow, but I did fire up the wood stove on many occasions, serve up our store of black-eyed pea soup, and huddle often over my tea, allowing the steaming mug to do for my brittle fingers what the keys of my laptop could not.

When you've hunkered long enough, you know it.  You throw it off like a dirty blanket and welcome spring at the door, ready to start something new.

Having been raised in the Episcopal church, I am trained to think of this springtime rebirth through the lens of Jesus's resurrection.  But as I've said before, that upbringing didn't stick.  I have no need to displace that narrative for those who believe in it.  However, I have to say that I am so much more moved by my chives.

I am. 

During the late fall, they begin to dry.  By the start of winter, they'll have disappeared. They remain entombed for a period of rest, then three months later, they rise again, fresh, crisp, and brilliantly green.   

I don't mean that in a belittling way.  It's just that for me, the narratives are flipped around.  Rather than see spring as a reflection of the Christian celebration of Easter, I see Easter as a reflection of spring. 

Either way, the point is that the holiday celebrates rebirth, regeneration, new beginnings, second chances, all regardless of what narrative most effectively speaks those things to you.  

And so, with tender petals and shoots of green peeking out from my yard this week, I've been thinking about hunkering and rebirth. Hunkering has its pleasures and its benefits, but spring asks us to make something--big or small--of the endings we have suffered.  And when we don't have the energy to do so, spring sends shoots of green triumphantly out of the earth anyway, if only just to show us that it's possible--for when we are ready.

So no matter your narrative, or what your state of hunkering, I hope you can make the most of the season.

Happy Spring!


  1. I totally get you on the need to hunker in order to welcome spring. And I don't think we had enough of it last winter or this winter, either.

    1. you are right that this winter was also lame. i was just happy that at least got to light a fire a few times! i guess i'm lowering my standards!

  2. for me resurrection happened walking at Great Falls yesterday,we visit there often,oh goodness, all spring melting and all rain waters running, were one big white storm with strings of mists climbing through the air against the lots of good hopeful powerful energy of rebirth of mother earth amnio and voltaic fluids to my creative beings.

  3. So happy to get out again. A walk in the spring is so much more pleasant to me than in the cold!

    I've been reading the last several posts as they came out but hadn't had a chance to comment yet! Glad to catch up on that today!

    Looking forward to LTYM!