Vernal Equinox, AKA it's Spring

You can feel it, can’t you? The anticipation. Excitement is building, smiles, spirits, and hearts are lifting. Change is coming. The change we wait for every Spring. The birds return and twitter endlessly at 5 o’clock in the morning, green is sprouting here and there if you slow down and look closely. Warmth replaces bitter cold, well, if not warmth, at the very least cool air instead of frigid. The Despair of death and endings is lifting and is replaced with Hope. Take a deep sigh. Spring is almost here.

This week our Earth will celebrate the vernal equinox. Not with fanfare and streamers, not with a holiday parade, but with buds, and birds, and wooly bears (I saw one crawling through a parking lot this week!) And we welcome it’s arrival and the hope imbued with the passing of the day. The Vernal (or Spring) Equinox is the astronomic point of balance, when day and night are the same length of time. In other words, it’s the first day of Spring.

As the days get longer and warmer and color returns it’s easy to feel inspired and easy to feel that Hope we’ve been patiently nurturing with hot soup and comfy sweaters all winter. We welcome the changes with the season. Many of the changes we look for are repeated from the seasons before- I wait to see the same yellow buds on my forsythia. I start counting the number of robins at my feeders excited to see them grow. I feel more space as the snow melts and reveals wider edges on the paths and roads. It’s the expected changes I am looking for, waiting for, relishing in. But what about the unexpected changes? The weeping cherry that wasn’t strong enough to make it through the winter, the number of robins that actually don’t return, the extra weight that doesn’t come off with the removal of the comfy sweater, and the changes in my perspective that maybe I have a hard time dealing with. 

If you are anything like me, you are set in your ways. You like the list of things that you like and you believe the list of things you believe. When they are challenged, you stand firm in your likes and beliefs. You know what to say. You know yourself. If I know anything, it’s me. What happens when it changes? When you aren’t expecting to like or believe something other than you ever liked or believed before? How do you get out of your own way to allow for it?

I have a confession. Spring is my favorite season. There. I said it. If you had asked me that question last year, or the year before, or any of  the years back to age 11, the solid, without a doubt, no hesitation answer to “What’s your favorite season?” Is Fall, obviously. Fall is beautiful and smells amazing and is Earth’s final fanfare of color before it settles in. I love it. But something happened a few years ago. The Hope of Sping started to seep into my bones. It became a call to me, something to hold on to when the winter blues just wouldn’t seem to let go. Quietly and unassumedly, Springtime took it’s place at the forefront of my emotional well-being. It’s taken me YEARS to notice it. Then I had to admit it out loud. 

And that’s just a season. What about when it’s something that actually matters to your identity? What happened when the change that seeps in isn’t just about your preferences of what you’re wearing or what things are your favorites but something that defines your heart? Allowing for transformation is painful. It’s humbling. It’s admitting to yourself time and time again that you can, will, and are allowed to change. You can believe at age 17, that love is stupid and vow never to waste your time on marriage and relationship, then go ahead and fall in love and get married at 24. You can hold a belief so strong to your identity and you have permission to let it go when experience and opening and softening your heart means it no longer speaks truth to you. It isn’t weakness or shallowness to allow for change in your ABSOLUTES. It’s maturity and bravery and strength. It’s the moment when you can humble yourself to your own ego and admit, although it hurts, “I am ever-changing, dying and being reborn to myself in every season.”

Don’t be afraid. Take this moment, this first day of Spring, this growing excitement at the prospect of green to herald in your old goodness and also your new goodness. See your expected sprouts and smile, softening at the surprise growth. Look hard and deep into your heart, and sing out without shame, the Truth of You in this season. Let your ego die with winter and dance in the grass of new self discovery.

aubrey bates