Decades ago I was in acupuncture program in England where I would attend classes every 3 months. I remember clearly one mid-April day arriving in a light cotton outfit. In DC the forsythias, tulips, and dogwood flowers had come and gone and we were really fast approaching summer days. It was snowing outside when I stepped onto the runway in England. It wasn’t a heavy snow but enough to be freezing in my light clothing. My first stop was a department store where I picked up a pair of black wool pants and a couple of wool sweaters. I was caught unaware of where I was and what the weather was going to be.
That is how I felt today when I started on my walk to the subway. We have had an extended winter this year from the first snow in November to the last at the end of March. But finally it was warm. The fresh light green leaves captivated my heart. The beloved cherry blossoms always bring a kind of euphoria to the area with their magical lightness. I put my winter coats away. But the past few days we have had a real cold front.
There’s a kind of denial that I think we are all subject to when we get an interruption in the temperatures. Especially when we move from warm to cold unexpectedly. I looked at my temperature reading on my iPhone and it said 37 degrees but I still put on my spring coat. I walked the 2 long blocks to the metro stop and by then my hands were really cold. I watched everyone else on the platform having the same problem of being cold in spring coats. But there was one woman who was dressed in a heavier coat and had beautiful gloves on her hands. That person was not in denial and was more in concert with the season than the rest of us who were hoping that the warm sun was minutes away. For a brief moment I looked at those gloves with envy. How could I ignore nature?
In part being prepared is taking in what really is going on and dressing appropriately. No matter whether you want it to be warmer or not, there is our underlying vulnerability to the seasons. But we are only vulnerable when we decide not to pay attention. And while hope springs eternal, especially in the spring, the secret is to always be in touch with what nature offers and to take it in fully with gratitude. No more cold hands and feet for me…
More on spring and it’s meaning in Chinese Medicine next time.