It is unfortunate that living in south Louisiana means we do not experience a dramatic turning of the seasons as some areas of the country do. We often joke that Louisiana has three temperatures: warm, hot and “10th level of hell.” Because of this, the turning of the seasons in my area is gradual and almost unnoticeable. My grandmother had many axioms about the seasons that she passed on to me. These included “Never plant your garden before Good Friday,” “The grass knows it is winter before we do,” and “It is only spring when the azaleas bloom.” If you are looking for signs of Emergence and spring in my home, sometimes you have to look closely.
Spring is the time of the Maiden, and sometimes She emerges when you are not paying attention. With my busy life and the hustle and bustle of the every day drudgery, sometimes I find I need visual reminders of the turning of the seasons to remind me to literally stop and smell the flowers. I planted on either side of my door a large bridal wreath bush. This long-lived bush produces beautiful, delicate little white flowers every spring. They are often used to garnish bridal bouquets, as weddings start happening around this time. The tiny flowers seem to pop up overnight, and a bush that seems to be brown and nearly lifeless is suddenly raining small white blossoms, as if it had snowed.
If you pay attention, you can see the buds appearing on the ends of the branches well before they bloom, however, it requires you to actually pay attention and look. Too often I am eager to get inside the house after a long day and walk right by the bushes without a second glance. This spring, though, my arms are usually full with my bags and one year old son, so it can take me longer to get into the door. As luck would have it, it was my baby who noticed the flowers first. As I struggled to unlock the door, his small fingers found the first of the white blossoms. It was only until I noticed that he was reaching for something, that I stopped what I was doing to look. For the first time in a long time I noticed the brown branches that were hanging limp, had swelling buds on their ends. The flowers were about to emerge. Spring was here and the Maiden was stirring.
I remembered that when I planted the bushes, I called them my Two Maidens. I called them this not just because the flowers so often graced the bouquets of young brides, but because the appearance of the bush itself, with its riot of little white flowers, gives the feeling of the Maiden Herself. The buds on my Two Maiden bushes often arrived a week or two before the azaleas, thus heralding spring for me.
My baby son was fascinated by the first of the delicate little flowers within his reach. His fingers lightly brushed them with a feather touch. It struck me then how easy it is for children to not be so rushed as to miss something as magical as the emergence of Spring and the energy of the Maiden by literally stopping to appreciate the flowers. Sadly, somewhere on the road to adulthood, we lose that ability and must reclaim it. We must look for the Maiden as a child looks for delicate blossoms and four leaf clovers. We must be willing to stop and listen, feel the energy of Emergence courting through us. Spring may arrive outside our doors, but for the Spring of the spirit to arrive, She must be invited in.