GNL number 82

a report of doings at meeting #82, Sunday, March 9, 2014
including liturgical items, major themes, and other odds and ends

INVOCATION

It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Dead my old fine hopes,
And dry my dreaming, but still….
Iris, blue each spring.
~ Shushiki, Japanese Haiku

Woods were ringed with a colour so soft, so subtle
that it could scarcely be said to be a colour at all.
It was more the idea of a colour—
as if the trees were dreaming green dreams, or thinking green thoughts.
~ Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell


THEME

Long an observer of the natural world, Ann began this conversation on Spring Forward with the idea of spring as rebirth and renewal, part of the continuous process of change in nature. She said she was especially reminded of animals molting, or shedding skin, and she reminded us of the many that do this—birds, insects, snakes, e.g. She also read several good quotes and a bunch of springy 6-wordies. (Please check AFTERWORDS for all these.)

Anna and her daughter Janaye had brought each other today, and Anna had also brought the new issue of the Sun magazine with a spring surprise in it, another of her photos from the stock she’d sent them many years ago. She was looking forward to being able to walk more in spring time, but did grant the usefulness sometimes of denial, as in when winter hangs on long. She also noted that “spring” can be a tease, especially in March.

Janaye said, as an animal lover she’s very aware of seasonal changes in them, e.g., how her ferret becomes almost unrecognizable with color changes. She told us too about the falconry couirse she’s now taking to learn to train and summon kestrels or red-tailed hawks; this she said she is doing partly because her chronic lupus pulls on her to be inactive, and this is an interesting way to get her outdoors everyday. (And later when we discussed some of our physical woes of this winter, she as a doctor was able to give helpful ideas.)

Gail, like Ann, was seeing spring as a time of physical changes, old forms shed, new ones born, and said her first strong thought was of the fruit trees and bushes she would be pruning. She’d brought a big thesaurus, from which she read synonyms and background information on renewal, seasonal change, and also on the verb to spring, as in spring up, like sprouting plants, or leap, as (some of us thought) in taking a risk on a big change this spring. She recalled too Pooh’s friend Tigger, whose wind-up tail enabled springing into action.

Cynthia had just had a visit from her sister, which had prompted her to the spring-like action of clearing out her gear and overflow from the guest room to recall it to its original purpose. But maybe even more spring-like was the arrival of her and Ron’s new baby dog, Molly (a beautiful, frisky border collie-Australian shepherd, who visited us later with Ron). Cyn also admitted she was feeling the major anticipation of getting back to Camp Blenheim and nature in the spring.

Vijaya spoke of her continuing malaise at this end of the long winter, partly concerns about physical issues, partly worn-out-with-winter feelings like the rest of us had. In this light, she also mentioned an ongoing winter problem: confusion about who is responsible for keeping the alley (a fire lane) behind her and the other apartments clear of snow. The advice among us was to speak to the local fire chief, or the mayor, or both about it.

Louise happily described her extensive plan for spring plantings at both her SkyHill Farm and Falling Water — all kinds of vegetables and fruit trees, plus 80 or so more chickens, with the general aim of raising all her own food. She had just hired a farm manager and another helper to this end. And she recalled the very different tradition of springtime she grew up with, which was Easter observance with new outfits, baskets, candy, church and nothing about spring or nature’s renewal. She was glad to have totally reversed that.

Nancy this day was thinking of spring in the sense of her own imminent big leap, risk, change with a move to another house in town and the mix of feelings about that; but also the sense of needing to make the leap. She admitted too this long hard winter had set up the strongest need she’d ever felt for spring, and promised to worship every moment of it. For starters, she’s loved the arrival a few weeks ago of flocks of robins in Jay Ridge gobbling cherries. She also told another personal story of recent spring-gift. For which see AW.

We decided to celebrate spring’s imminence by sending today’s offering to MEPO, for one of brightest, freshest, most hopeful places we know, the House of Flowers Orphanage in Kabul, Afghanistan.


BENEDICTION

After that hard winter, one could not get enough of the nimble air. Every morning I wakened with a fresh consciousness that winter was over. There were none of the signs of spring for which I used to watch in Virginia, no budding woods or blooming gardens. There was only—spring itself; the throb of it, the light restlessness, the vital essence of it everywhere: in the sky, in the swift clouds, in the pale sunshine, and in the warm high wind—rising suddenly, sinking suddenly, impulsive and playful like a big puppy that pawed you and then lay down to be petted. If I had been tossed down blindfold on that red prairie, I should have known that it was spring.
~ Willa Cather, My Antonia


NEXT TIME

Sunday, April 13, 2014, but a change of time and venue — We’ll join the Peacemakers for an afternoon PEACEMEAL up in Summit at Wayne Stinson’s house. A follow-up note will give time and directions. (And we’ll pick up our original topic Poetry — from Emily D to Dr. Seuss? — another time!)


AFTERWORDS

from Ann:
REBIRTH/SPRING,etc.
MOLT:
verb (used without object)
1. (of birds, insects, reptiles, etc.) to cast or shed the feathers, skin, or the like, that will be replaced by a new growth.
verb (used with object)
2. to cast or shed (feathers, skin, etc.) in the process of renewal.

Origin:
1300–50; earlier mout (with intrusive -l-; cf. fault, assault), Middle English mouten, Old English -mūtian to change (in bi-mūtian to exchange for) < Latin mūtāre to change; see mutate

SHED:
verb (used with object), shed, shed·ding.
1. to pour forth (water or other liquid), as a fountain.
2. to emit and let fall, as tears.
3. to impart or release; give or send forth (light, sound, fragrance, influence, etc.).
4. to resist being penetrated or affected by: cloth that sheds water.
5. to cast off or let fall (leaves, hair, feathers, skin, shell, etc.) by natural process.

Synonyms
emit, radiate, effuse, spread, repel, molt.

  • Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer. ~ Geoffrey B. Charlesworth
  • April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go. ~ Christopher Morley, John Mistletoe
  • It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! ~ Mark Twain
  • Science has never drummed up quite as effective a tranquilizing agent as a sunny spring day. ~ W. Earl Hall
  • The birth of an idea is that happy moment when everything appears possible and reality has not yet entered in to the problem. ~ Rudolph Diesel

Six wordies
* It’s at it again, springs coming.
* Spring harbingers sneak up on us.
* Give us this day our spring.
* Start fresh with experience as background.
* When we start anew, that’s life.
* Daffodil bulbs are bottled up spring.
* White to green in no time.
* Looking back, transitions are the best.

from Nancy:
* In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours. ~ Mark Twain
* In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. ~ Margaret Atwood
* One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of March thaw, is the Spring. ~ Aldo Leopold

and an anecdote:
A couple days before this meeting, I was standing at the table at one end of the Laundromat folding my clothes, when the door must have opened down in the front because I caught a whiff — my body caught it before I had a word, and I felt myself breaking into such a smile it may have been a laugh, because the other woman at the table looked over at me and began to smile too — and I said chuckling then, Did you catch it too — that whiff of spring? Yes, she said, and both of us stood grinning like idiots, like someone had given us first prize, or at least a surprise birthday present.

and via email later from Sue:
a small meditation on “springing forward”
With the death/passing of my Aunt I’ve had to face all kinds of family issues and many old fears. Somehow leaping through the fire-hoops of my fears (I had no choice)–just springing forward, has been been a huge release. Old burdens have dropped away, people I feared would be difficult to deal with have responded to the new order of things with wonderful openness, so all my basic beliefs (like there is a good loving healthy being at the core of every person, and no one is too rigid and stuck in their ways to change, change is always possible) are just shining and holding true. I’m hoping that this experience will help me in the future to stand up and go forth into the situations that scare me–to spring forward so-to-speak sooner rather than later when I’m facing difficulty.
love, Sue

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