Every year I am amazed at how our property turns from desolation to overgrowth seemingly overnight. Vermont Spring seems to be on fast forward as though the earth beneath our feet understands that its warm days are limited and it ought to hasten the process for the well being of those tasked with tending it. In late winter, the earlier whispers of SAD grow to shrill and defiant roars, and there is a conspicuous fog of relief when warmer winds blow. It must be that this is why we are so enthralled with the crocus’ that break ground often through the snow. They afford tiny, colorful reminders that we too should seize the fresh start. Indeed, there is a coming awake that happens universally in the spring.
We all have our own way of climbing out of our winter skins and coming to our senses. My hens begin to lay again, my neighbors plan barbeques and spread thick layers of aromatic mulch, and my kids spend hours on their trampoline. In my world, when trout season begins I feel revitalized. Our current river levels all but ensure my fly rod and I would be swept swiftly downstream as my waders fill with water and sink me like a stone. But, the very process of organizing my gear, renewing my license and picking out new flies the way most women shop for shoes, makes me hopeful that there will be sunny days spent in the river and warm afternoons spent at the Alchemist.
The digital revolution and our tendencies toward emailing, facebooking, texting and tweeting have resulted in a false sense of comfort among tightly packed villages that do shallow, distant relationships well. In this era of 24/7 connectivity are we sure we are spending adequate time connecting back to the natural world and to our humanity? Not only has this trend given way to new verbs, but it has bred a new generation and offered a sickle like tool to an existing one with which we can hack at human relationships. These paradigms allow us to disengage from more solid associations and more grounding forces that were meant to tether us back to each other and to the earth. It reduces our ability to cultivate intimacy, a key component to the emerging trend toward mindfulness.
Our work weeks have become so ambiguous with technology that the boundaries necessary to create the time and space we need to participate in the awakening have become virtually (pun intended) unrecognizable. Our accessibility and response times have become unrealistic now that everyone can answer an email on their phone. When did we decide that manners do not apply to technology? When was the last time you walked away mid-sentence while someone was speaking to you? Likely never. Ever not answer a text mid -conversation or have someone do it to you? Same thing. We are forgetting how to be part of the environment; and, the natural world does not wait for us and our creations. It moves at its innate pace bringing seasons to a close whether we notice or not.
From the closing line of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off which suggests that “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it” to the Tao Te Ching which cautions, “Amidst the worldly comings and goings, observe how endings become beginnings” we are reminded to be a part of our world and to not abdicate our innate ability to notice.