Zen of Rocky

SPRING Winter has always been my favorite season, with its “gathering in,” creative energy, and sensuous landscape. Certainly, spring offers a welcome relief from winter, given society’s exuberant mood, the lengthening days, and warming temperatures. But, where do the contemplative moments exist in spring? How does spring show its quiet side amidst the hustle and bustle? Can one slow down the burst of life from the soil so as to savor spring?

In 2008, I picked up my camera for the first time ever in spring, and let the camera’s eye guide my own eye to unexpected experiences.

A new addition to my garden, the Japanese maple, was an early harbinger with the unfolding delicacy of its leaves. A red ball of peony beauty displayed the morning dew with poignancy and poise. The Chinese Peony, planted in the fall, offered its apt symbolism. A shock of pink phlox uplifted my spirits and then followed me as it provided the foreground or background for other natural life. The garden markers announced the names of the lilies that would provide a steady progression of blooms, be that Palace Guard, Blushing Valentine or Pinhill Carrot in Flight. The dandelion caught my eye with its overlooked position in nature’s social tier, and seemed to be a healthy alternative to Meet the Marshes. The plants that had given form to the winter landscape were stretching toward the sun and making their spring debut. The statue named Winter, shown in the Zen of Weeding, had dusted off her snow and was presiding over her blossoming garden mates.

I relocated my lawn chair from its fall spot at the butterfly bush to its spring spot in front of my backyard swamp. While relaxing in the chair, a blue heron floated by, birds called forth, the water started to rush, and an atmosphere of peacefulness enveloped the spring landscape.

The spring of 2008 had a Zen feel to it, with the capacity to fully experience the present moment while riding the wave of people energy. When the spring is over, I will look back and say, “Yes, spring just flew by.” But, as I am experiencing spring, I have been able to say, “No, spring goes very slowly.”

Best of all, I will remember Spring 2008 as the season that uplifted my spirits after the too brief, but transformative time I spent with my cat Rocky. Spring was lovely.