First, I wanted to apologize to my email subscribers for my last post’s (A Few of My Favorite Things) crazy formatting. The piece was fine on the website, but I didn’t size the photos correctly for the emailed version, which mucked the whole thing up. Another lesson learned along the way, which is an appropriate segue into today’s post.
I’ve been immersed in a tug-of-war with Mother Nature these past couple of weeks. On March 21st, one of the first warm days after an unusually cold and snowy winter here in Northern Virginia, I decided to chronicle the progress of a little cluster of forsythia buds in my back yard as part of my 365project.org photo a day challenge.
Though I didn’t have recorded data on when the forsythia normally bloomed in my garden, I was pretty certain that everything was way behind schedule because of the lower than average temperatures.
So when the sun finally came out the third week of March perfectly coordinated with the official calendar’s announcement of spring, I thought we were in the homestretch. I thought the forsythia buds would take about three days to bloom. Mother Nature (one of the universe’s many manifestations) does have a sense of humor. For a closer look at the photos, just click on the images.
Lessons Learned From the Bud Watch Chronicle
1) Spring happens. Despite our longer than usual winter, when it was warm enough to venture into the garden again these buds drenched in late afternoon sunlight reminded me that nature always moves forward.
2) Noticing the details along the way makes the journey richer. I saw no growth action on Day 2, but noticed other details, like those little bumps on the twig and the tightly woven pattern of the bud’s outer layers.
4) Stop worrying about pleasing everyone else. On Day 4, my husband said, “Maybe you should just post these every other day. You’re in danger of losing your audience.” He also has trouble waiting in lines.
6) Practice acceptance and non-resistance. No apparent movement on Day 6 provided an opportunity for that. Letting go of what I couldn’t change relaxed me.
7) Action isn’t everything. Though I did see a bit more growth on Day 7, what I really appreciated about this shot was the quality of the sunlight on the buds.
8) Some days will be boring. My caption for Day 8 was “Ho hum.
11) Some days you will lose your compass. My branch marker disappeared on Day 11, probably due to the snow and driving rain of the previous couple of days. I stood very still and felt my way back to the right spot in the midst of three sprawling forsythia shrubs–found the same indentations for the tripod under the snow, the same branch hitting me in the face, the shrub itself whispering in my ear Here they are! The trick is clearing our heads enough to listen.
12) Tiny bits of progress each day add up to something big. Yellow petals were clearly visible on Day 12, proving that even on those days when I thought nothing was happening, subtle growth was still at work.
13) Sometimes you just need to take a step back. On Day 13 the buds had outgrown my original framing of the shot and I had to move the tripod back a few inches. Stepping back helped me see how far the buds had advanced.
14) Don’t get distracted by what the other buds are doing. Though the blossoms at the end of the twig just two inches away were blooming on Day 14, the stars of my show weren’t ready yet. I’m a late bloomer myself.
15) Find joy in every stage of the bloom, rather than focusing on when it will be “finished” (whatever that means). Day 15’s photo of the blossom finally opening was taken at 10 p.m. on April 4th, which just happened to be my 50th birthday. Coincidence? I think not.
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