Friday, April 25, 2014

Forever Spring:

‘There is no such thing as a Forever Garden. Be brave. Nurture fortitude. It is only in the act of creating, in the endless planting and feeding and watering, in the living and dying and living again that forever may be found.’

Dominique Browning, Slow Love (2011), pp. 229

The memoir that this epigram is plucked from I’ve read no less than four times–as it never ceases to delight me. As does the entire book. With each rereading, new sentences, words, and ideas that didn’t resonate with me the first time around, further spring from the pages, up and into my consciousness. My eyes, when directed, will become transfixed by the serif font that this book is set within, mulling over each page with an appetite that’s hungry for laughs that pack a punch happiness. This book makes me smile; it unfolds in a soothing rhythm, while it muses about the everyday, which it occasionally counterbalances with the profound.

My own life, which, at this moment, is also deeply engaged with my own garden, has been somewhat less insightful these past few months. Perhaps that’s why the pace of my writing has slipped. I’m in a state of confusion, that’s positive in the best possible way. Lately, rather than focussing my energy inward–something that I’m quite an expert at; what can I say, introversion is my thing–I’ve recently reversed my personality so that extroversion carries me throughout each of my days. Much of my time, like everyone else’s, is spent within my own mind; imagining, contemplating, assessing, dreaming.

I have an active fantasy life that’s overtly imaginative. I’d compare it to the theatrics of a musical–why shouldn’t life be a singing-dancing production, with people punctually stopping their every action to break out in coordinated song and dance? Life would be much more fun were that more often the case.

Perhaps that’s what I’m attempting to express: the musicals, so to speak, that constitute my own psychological swirl of thoughts, emotions, and ideas–I’m more often now sharing with others. I’m finding comfort in being part of groups, rather than resorting to an oh-so familiar solo-status. Again, what can I say–I like to be alone. Yet I’m learning that I don’t like to be alone always. My head is often so in the clouds that I must remind myself to engage with those around me. Whenever one human separates from a group of others–disengagement has occurred; the perceived experience of the other by those still huddled becomes that of disconnection. Ties have been severed, however momentarily. And so, with that said, I can also say that I’m now aware of myself more than ever. But am I engaged? Am I present? And in what ways does my energy mesh and merge with that of the others around me?

As I grow, I’m beginning to be able to see beyond the right now; a task that I’ve always immensely enjoyed–future tripping, that is. But suddenly it’s as if I’m able to see further; able to gain more ground; and able to see farther into my future than I ever have before.

The actions that I set into motion last December have so far served me well during this new, even-number-ending year. Yet a year is only a year; its number a human creation, yet the year itself not. With each passing year in the Netherlands–real or imaginary–my eyes see new aspects of life that I previously overlooked, or was unable to see because I was, for instance, too focussed on seeing only what I wanted to within my field of vision. That happens when moving to a new country, alone, at the age of 22. But I’m no longer that young, and yet I am not yet aging, in any way, at a profound or accelerated rate. In this moment in time–the present–I am whole, I am conscious, and the spirit within me is beautiful–if only for the sole reason that it’s me–my spirit is forever and my body ephemeral; both engaged with the world around around me, the former in ways mostly unseen.

And so as the seasons slip, and the world turns toward spring on the continent of Europe, I can’t help but step back from my life, and marvel at it in delight. Never did I ever imagine that my feet would be wandering around this most ancient tract of land on this oh-so precious Earth. I’ve begun to be able to see Europe for what it is and what it isn’t, rather than seeing within it only what I wish to see. My projections have diminished, as have my projections of myself into other places or people, as my true self continues to emerge with a newfound freedom of spirit that makes every step I take, during each successive day, just a bit more pronounced. As the sun strengthens, my spirit is softening; my speech being weeded of aggression, anger, and any–now faint–traces of past resentment.

I’m becoming braver–a characteristic that I had for many years intuitively presumed to already be present. And it was. But its status has been–looking back while looking forward–accelerated over the past few years because of the ways in which my life has unfolded here in Amsterdam. I grew up over these past six years–profoundly–I can see that now.

And so I’m nurturing fortitude–breaking off from sedentary groups in order to osmose with those that gesticulate. I'm losing myself within the act of creating–an action that never ends. I’m pausing long enough to take delight in small healing moments–and letting them be very healing. Perhaps, just like my garden and its non-forever status, my life will also never be complete; like my garden, it occasionally will need to be refreshed, enlivened, loved. There will always be endless questioning, as I age.

My garden grows greener as Amsterdam leans toward spring. And I'm growing older alongside my garden. Each planting, feeding, and watering further draws my attention to the sun, and the moon, and the rotation of the Earth. It's beneath the welkin that I can feel–and feeling is oh so very important–that I am only a small spec within this wondrously complex treasure of a world. A romanticism for the natural world has overcome me; it's not that I'm not in awe of nature, I'm in awe of my connection to it.

As spring continues its emergence, so too do I.