Season of surprise

by | Sep 8, 2016 | Seasons Newsletter | 26 comments

 

 

Which season is most full of surprise for you?

For me, spring wins every time. Last week, as I walked along the leafy streets, suddenly I was engulfed in sweet fragrance. It felt as if a shimmering diaphanous stole had been flung over my head and shoulders. What a surprise!

I stopped walking and looked around. There was nothing to be seen but a high hedge and a few small trees. I breathed in the fragrance, gave thanks, and continued my walk.

Then across the road I glimpsed a white magnolia, holding its blooms like delicate chalices up to the sky. Right next to it, a pink cherry blossom puffed itself out, frothing with tiny flowers. The beauty of these two trees, one white and one pink, each graceful in its own fashion, took my breath away.

Five minutes later the sky clouded over and rain began to fall.

And now, as I prepare to send out this newsletter, a southerly chill is sweeping up the country.

Welcome to spring!

How about you?

Do you like to be surprised? I once knew someone who so much hated to be surprised that she insisted on knowing what her birthday present would be in advance.

Surprise can unseat you. Or it can delight.

After the dreary predictability of a wet winter month, now we are in a shift, a quickening of pace. As we move into the glamour of early spring, it’s tempting to reject winter as a tired old garment that needs to be bundled up for the op shop.

Tulips pink against wall

 

But winter has a gift

An unexpected present reminded me of the value of winter.

My friend brought a pot of plum-coloured tulips, poised on the brink of blooming. I was thrilled, for this year I missed a beat and didn’t buy bulbs to be stored in the back of the fridge for a couple of months, to prepare them for planting. Now I was being gifted the benefit of someone else’s vigilance.

In warm climates such as Auckland, the fridge is necessary to simulate the natural chilling that bulbs would receive in a colder earth.

Why chill?

Because nature insists on a period of dormancy, not just for bulbs, but also for fruit trees and many other plants. Dormancy is a vital part of preparing for growth — or to use the precise term, for vernalization.

What a marvellous word! It means springing into life after dormancy.

And here is the wisdom of nature:

You too need times of dormancy 

You cannot be engaged in inexorable growth all the time. Rhythm is an important part of health: knowing your own cycles of rest, replenishment and growth. And of course the flowering, seeding and return that follow growth.

Hyacinth

Have you rested this winter?

Have you dropped into dormancy, the winter sleep, for a time? Sometimes dormancy arrives with a winter virus, sometimes through a loss of energy, and sometimes when you slow down or take a retreat.

This deep rest is a gift of winter. It prepares you for vernalisation.

 

Take it easy

Are you ready to wake up?

There’s no rush. Take it gently. You may like to begin by noticing the surprises of spring, and the signs of awakening.

As an old Chinese proverb says:

Spring is sooner recognised by plants than by people.

 

Let nature lead the way.

Blessings,
Juliet

PS  Look what I found this morning, popping up in the pot of pink tulips! A baby in the middle, newly opening. Another spring surprise!

 

Tulip white

 

This post is an excerpt from my Seasons Newsletter. To receive the full Seasons Newsletter, you may sign up on the home page of this website and receive a free audio meditation.

26 Comments

  1. Ruth

    Lovely, as always – and such great questions for reflection. Thank you, Juliet!

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Thanks Ruth.

      Reply
  2. Anita

    Thank you Juliet for such a timely and encouraging reminder that one needs to allow rest especially in winter and even when one is not ‘down with something’…I was only remarking to a friend in the markets this morning how tired I have been feeling and she said she had felt the same! In our busy lives it is lovely to acknowledge and share…and you confirm it…. how important it is to listen to our bodies and rest when the body asks for us too. Even if it is a brief nap or any early night for those of us who cant take extended breaks at this time! Your observations of the beauty of spring flowers also remind me how simple are the pleasures are that available to us in daily life. Bless you : )

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Anita, you are so right. Tiredness is a signal to rest, not necessarily that something is wrong. Isn’t it wonderful that so many simple pleasures are all around us! Thank you for your appreciative remarks; I’m so happy to hear that my words resonate with you.

      Reply
  3. Laura

    Just beautiful! Wonderful to have a reminder of the vitality of dormancy… and also I really appreciate the encouragement to not feel compelled to rush into spring. Sometimes I get ‘spring guilt’ – feeling that I am not lively enough fast enough. Lovely to think of letting the plants lead the way (and also to remember that spring isn’t just an all-at-once awakening, but that little moments of winter do keep surprising us! like the hail today!). Lovely stuff as always – thanks Juliet!

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Laura, how nice to hear from you! ‘The vitality of dormancy’, what a great phrase. And ‘spring guilt’ too. I’m sure we can be like spring and dance in and out of it, and as you say, back into winter like today. I wish you well with finding your own rhythm in your own time. Thank you.

      Reply
  4. Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Juliet – yes we’re going off into Autumn – looks like this weekend! Well some rain comes in and chill … but things do surprise us – and I need a few of these this autumn and winter .. enjoy Spring blooming … wonderful shots .. cheers Hilary

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Thank you Hilary, and enjoy going into autumn.

      Reply
  5. Beverley Holt

    Thank you, Juliet. I loved the concept and your illustrations of ‘surprise’. The Newsletter was a delight to read with such beautiful photos and your flow of such choice words. Especially ‘vernalisation’!

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Bev, I’m so glad that you found delight in the newsletter. My dictionary insists on spelling vernalization with a ‘z’, even though I usually favour the English ‘s’, but spellcheck likes the ‘s’ too, surprisingly! I hope you are keeping warm while the winter chill strikes.

      Reply
  6. Vicki Lane

    I grew up in Florida where the seasons were not nearly so distinct — hot, very hot, cooler, and a glorious burst of azaleas in Spring. We chose to move to North Carolina because there are four distinct seasons — and I love the approach of each. Being a part of the circle’s turn is a fine feeling.

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Vicki, it’s so much more satisfying to have distinct seasons. Yes, being part of the circle’s turn, what a nice way to put it. Thank you.

      Reply
  7. kim gregory

    I love Spring, and am delighting at the emerging fragrances and color too. Each day I have a slow walk with my aging dogs and pause to take it all in. It so lifts my spirits and find myself smiling at the blossoming trees etc. I have been known to say hello and welcome to them too! Much to the amusement of anyone watching I am sure..:)

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Hi Kim, I like to think of you smiling at the trees and saying hello to them. Me too! Thank you.

      Reply
  8. Penny

    Oh, I can almost smell the magnolia and what beautiful, tender tulip blooms.

    Spring always delights me, even though it comes in spurts and fits here. Right now, the gardens are dying back and the trees, while not yet turning, are looking a bit tired and worn. I find myself looking forward to Autumn, and then, Juliet, the time to rest come winter. There is still much work to do and Autumn flowers and the riot of color we get her, but, I can feel the change and I welcome it.

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Penny, spurts and fits are exactly how spring is coming in here. And there you are in the season of autumn, with much to be done in the garden. The fragrance of our spring blossoms is heavenly. Thank you.

      Reply
  9. Nadezda

    Juliet you have forced tulips, haven’t you? Wonderful! I love surprises, in spring I always wait for first flowers but don’t remember where I planted the bulbs, so these flowers are big pleasant surprise to me 🙂

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Nadezda, sorry to miss your comment earlier. I didn’t get the notification. Yes, I have forced tulips in the past. You probably don’t have to do this to get the lovely blooms in your garden. It’s so nice when they come up in forgotten places. Thank you.

      Reply
  10. Dana Leigh Lyons

    Lovely post as always, Juliet! Delightful to imagine your springtime full of opening and surprises…even as I move into the gathering inward of fall and dormancy of winter.

    I truly love the rhythms and changes of the seasons…and how each contains the seed of the others.

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Dana, I love that concept too, of the seed within each seasons. After all your activity maybe it will be a relief to ‘gather inward’ into fall, knowing the winter rest awaits you.

      Reply
  11. Jennifer

    Hi Juliet, beautiful words and photos as always. I particularly loved “shimmering diaphanous stole”….oh yes!! Thank you for this welcome to Spring ..

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Jennifer, how nice to see you here. I’m glad those words sang to you. Thank you.

      Reply
  12. Linda Brown

    I’m here! I love your new blog and design!

    Thank you for letting me know.

    Linda

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Hi Linda, so good to see you, all the way from Colorado.

      Reply
  13. Gallivanta

    Spring has been quite exhausting for me this year, probably because I didn’t rest sufficiently during winter. Today I took the day off from usual activities. I feel much better.

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Oh Gallivanta, just like the tulips! I’m glad you had a day off. Thanks for dropping in.

      Reply

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