Spring. It’s a season we anticipate months before it arrives. When the nights get darker, and the wind blows colder, we begin to search seed catalogs for the beginnings of Spring. The arrival of the first seed catalog was always a sign that while the worst of winter was still to come, there was a time beyond that when I’d be sinking my fingers into the dirt again.
Gardeners imagine every detail of the garden. We stare at the spot where a crocus will push up through the snow. We hunt for the first leaf bud and wait eagerly for it to unfurl.
What we are really waiting for is change. Specific change. For a shift to bring more light. We are not always as eager for change in our own lives. Nature gives us some wonderful lessons to follow, if we take a walk outside:
- We change in order to grow. The first leaf might freeze on the branch, but it comes out anyway, when the sun warms it. Without it, the tree can’t flower, set fruit or scatter seed to become a forest. Our creative life, too, must push ahead without knowing exactly what the details are—just that without this effort there won’t be a creative ground to build on.
- Creativity comes one step at a time. One crocus comes up. One robin hops across the lawn. Creativity is fragile and needs encouragement. We encourage our creative selves one step at a time. We do small things that build into a creative life.
- Repetition of success make the next success easier. The first leaf is a miracle, a thousand leaves is a shade tree. A creative life repeats small steps until they become a large achievement.
Jason Poole, a commentor on this site, wrote (about his word for the year), “In Hawaiian, the prefix/causative HOʻO is put in front of a word to–well–make something happen. The Hawaiian word for sprout is KUPU. So the Hawaiian word for “to sprout” is HOʻOKUPU.” It’s Jason’s word because he want to nurture his creativity into shoots and sprouts and honor his teachers. (Read the whole post).
A creative life, like the signs of Spring, starts in the dark, with uncertainty and trust. We believe in creativity even if we do not believe in ourselves. As creativity blossoms and thrives, as we nurture our creative ideas, we push ahead with more ideas, with more certainty, to live a creative life. Creativity can start in any season, thrive in any climate. It just takes the first brave unfurling of a green idea.
-–Quinn McDonald is amazed at the power of words and language. But then again, she’s a writer.