Reflections on Springtime in Quarantine

laptop with glasses and flowers

As I write this, I am entering my fourth week of shut down, and I know many of you began to practice self-isolation or began limiting your activities, a week or more before that.  And we still have weeks ahead of us. 

The fact that this is happening during the springtime is, in one respect, a blessing because the days are getting warmer and longer. 

If we can get out and walk, or even if we have a window through which we can look, we can witness the steady growth and change that is the essence of spring.

Walking my dogs daily I have been able to see trees in my neighborhood bud, blossom, and leaf out.

The bulbs have come and gone in their usual (although somewhat accelerated) succession. 

The birds are nesting and the neighborhood squirrels and fox are increasingly active. 

The sounds of spring are somewhat muted this year, but morning birdsong and early evening drone of lawnmowers are reminders that, indeed, spring has arrived.

Chinese Medicine recognizes that Springtime is a time of rapid growth and movement. 

We can think of the daffodil that is barely showing itself above ground one day.  Almost overnight the stem shoots up, the bud appears, and that beautiful yellow face lifts toward the sun.

We can start to move in spring, stretching tight tendons and ligaments after the stillness of winter.  We turn our faces up to the warmth of the sun, think about our future, create or hone our vision, and put plans into place to realize that vision. 

So this spring of 2020 presents us with a special challenge.  This is because we are still, to a great extent, stuck in winter. 

The beauty of winter is that it allows going deep within ourselves, to be quiet and to ponder life’s mysteries.  But here it is spring –calling us to move forward, striding purposefully toward our future.

We have to ask…

What IS my future?  What will this new version of normal look like and how will I be different in that new normal? 

Spring doesn’t just gift us with the impetus to move forward. In Chinese Medicine, we see the energy of spring as granting us the ability to be flexible and creative.

This year, I am thinking not of the daffodil, which can grow straight up unimpeded. 

Instead, I am thinking about the dandelion, which manages to grow and flower in the tiniest of cracks in the sidewalk or my driveway.

I have been so inspired by hearing how my clients and friends are navigating their way through this time of uncertainty.  People are baking, sewing, learning about opera, writing poetry, creating art with the abandoned watercolor set. Some are visualizing a new future and working on political campaigns or environmental projects.

If we are lucky enough to be healthy and economically secure during this time, we can use these few months to explore and discover facets of our very being that have not yet been brought to the surface.

These talents and skills will serve not only us but our community as well, once restrictions are eased and we move our way forward into this “new normal,” whatever form that may take.