When I walk about in some of the glorious spring days we have been experiencing lately, I find I often end up musing about the lessons the natural world offers. Many spiritual traditions have looked to Nature as a source of inspiration and teacher. In fact, some might argue that we have all too often seen the environment as a tool to our enlightenment and growth rather than something to appreciate and protect on its own terms. The world does not exist so that we can admire it, after all. With that cautionary note in mind, I have been wondering as I pay attention to the blossoms and greening of spring about what it has to show me. It feels as though some elements of the essence of living are on displ
In my reflective moments on walks recently, I have been stuck by two things. First, I have been noted again the cyclical quality of life. Unlike the seasons, our lives may not shift and change in predictable patterns, but there are patterns and changes that seem to recur regularly. A winter time in my spirit may not be seamlessly followed by spring—I may have to go back to fall first—but I do recognize ways that I have moved between and among several patterns of being throughout my lifetime. There are times that feel like fall—a time of harvest and gratitude and also a bit of melancholy for all that has been lost. Other seasons in life feel more like winter, a combination of desolate and dormant. Still others feel like this time of year, full of renewal and overflowing with possibilities and growth. Lastly, we find that some seasons of our lives feel like summer—languid and fun and full of ease. Our lives have seasons.
The other lesson that spring has reminded me of this year, is just how much renewal and even rebirth is possible. The amazing colours that the flora and fauna offer this time of year are stunning in both their variety and beauty. I often pause in amazement that a particular shade of purple or orange exists in the natural world. I am awed by the intricacy of some of the blossoms—so much detail and so many fine lines. How did it all get here? How wonderfully fortunate am I (are we all) to be alive to witness it? Any botanist or biologist could explain it all to me, and I would be no less in awe and enthralled by the way blossoms come alive.
What does this mean for us? What renewal awaits for each of our spirits? What was in the doldrums that might re-emerge? What sadness or gloom might lift? What energy within us might return so that new growth can begin? And if this is not that season for you, if the struggles remain ever present, is there still something that this season can offer?
Rev. Shana Lynngood is co-minister of First Unitarian Church of Victoria.
You can read more articles on our interfaith blog, Spiritually Speaking HERE
* This article was published in the print edition of the Times Colonist on Saturday, May 18th 2019