I have a good reason to look out my kitchen window again. It’s spring. The rosebush is bursting with green leaves and tight buds. Only last month, its lanky branches and yellowing spotted leaves begged for a severe pruning. Wincing, I forced myself to be ruthless with the garden shears. It is hard for me, the artist, to accept the destructive act that is a necessary part of the creative process. Pruning, like the editing of a story and the erasing of wayward pencil lines, gets rid of the deadwood, the debilitating excess. Both the plant, the story, and the drawing are energized.
I know how this works. Life prunes me in the spring, too. Circumstances challenge me to let go of my old habits, attitudes and resentments, to make room for new growth. Prune, weed, scrape, scrub, polish. We call it Spring Cleaning.
I gaze at the achingly beautiful day outside my window and I can’t help but notice, “This window really needs to be washed. How long has it been this way?”
Bring out the rubber gloves, soap, and water. Open the door and the windows. Let the stale air rush out and the fresh morning air stream in with the sunlight. Sunlight that reveals dirt and smudges that I never noticed in the gloom of winter. I gently remove built-up layers to reveal the original luster of my home, and in the process, I change.
I have been hibernating too long in winter’s cave, huddled under a blanket of old habits, clutter and pent-up feelings. I throw off the blanket, shed the coat, the scarf, the mittens. I shed a few extra pounds and some emotional baggage while I’m at it. I shed my old skin, too tight for the person I am becoming.
Tender and exposed, I can feel the warmth of the sun and the cool breeze. Colors seem brighter. I see there is now a single rose on my bush, blooming red and lush. “When did that open,” I wonder. I breathe the scent and let it fill me.
Breathe deeply, expand fully, knowing that life rushes in on a tide of new experience and sweeps out, releasing feelings, expression, creativity.
Life is a circle within a circle. Breathe life in, harbor it, release. Repeat.