If ever there was a season that commands attention it is spring. Partly it is in its immense beauty. After the monochrome of winter, spring is a riot of technicolour. Whilst the other seasons can have a tendency to merge, the lines between them often blurred, the difference between winter and spring is more obvious, the landscapes impossible to confuse.
The transition can be something of a stop start affair, with early spring offering a few false starts, taunting us with the possibility of blossom but then retreating into still tight bud. But at its height, we are positively awash with all of its flurry. And every year, it can take us a little by surprise.
Many years ago I was taking my then young children for a picnic under the apple blossom trees in a garden nearby, and came across two elderly women stood beneath an old and very gnarled wisteria vine. They must have lived close to two hundred years between them and so had seen as many springs. And yet their delight in the sun on their face and the smell of the purple flower was as though it was spring for the very first time. They were, rightly, intoxicated. And - just as crucially- had taken the time to drink it in. And there’s something in that.
It is all too easy to miss these moments. To miss any moments, in fact. Spring is abundantly beautiful but -like life itself - it is also fleeting. This very notion lies at the heart of Buddhists teachings. They speak of ‘impermanence’ as a fact of life. Often they are accused of being depressing as a result, but in fact the very opposite is true. The transience of everything is not just fact, but brings a particular precious quality to all that is good, as well as a bearability to all that is not.
Knowing that nothing lasts we are invited to pay special attention. All too often we are focussed on the past or projecting into the future, and miss - sometimes entirely- what is happening before our very eyes. It is that old Lennon adage, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans’. But our well being depends on us being able to pause for long enough to notice the life that is in front of us. To take a moment, be it to turn our faces to the late spring sunshine or to drink in the fleeting scent of the lilac flower because it is short-lived and is entirely captivating as a result.
Words by Nicole Croft. Image by Willow Crossley.
Nicole Croft is a yoga teacher and a writer whose work is dedicated to the art of living well. For both her writing and her teaching she draws on the natural world, Eastern mysticism and Western philosophy to explore how we might seek to live in better balance with the rhythms of nature and of ourselves. She teaches popular weekly classes, both local to where she lives and on Zoom and runs several sell-out retreats a year in beautiful locations.