Spring is certainly coming. Every morning after I wake the girls up, the dog and I go for a 10 minute stroll around the neighborhood and in the past week I have noticed that we aren't walking in the dark. I no longer need to use the flashlight app on my cell phone to find the mess he leaves in the neighbors' grass and clean it up.
During our mid-day walk, I have seen tips of crocus and daffodil bulbs peeking out of the ground and the camellia bush someone has espaliered across their front fence has five open blossoms already. This morning while I prepared my coffee I saw the little black-masked chickadees chasing each other through the air around the branches of the cherry tree just outside the window.
As I packed snacks for Eve's class this morning (they are taking four days of standardized tests and some of the parents have volunteered to bring in 'brain food' each day for all the girls to help them make it through the endless, boring hours of answering questions at a computer screen), the paper towel I was using to hammock the bunches of grapes split down the middle and grapes went everywhere, collapsing the bag, rolling across the counter, landing in the sink and on the floor. I was instantly aware of a message playing in my head:
Today is a day to pay attention.
I realized I was simply going through the motions, not paying complete attention to anything around me.
You see, yesterday evening I was responsible for causing psychological and physical trauma to another human being. Directly responsible. And while it was entirely accidental and I never would have intended it, I still felt the weight of it in my heart this morning. Despite the fact that I did the right thing and stayed to ensure that everything was okay, despite the fact that the man I hurt, a complete stranger, assured me repeatedly that he was fine, that I shouldn't worry, I saw the faces of some of the witnesses. I watched one woman cross her arms and close her face in judgment. I heard the sharp words of another who questioned me and I felt Wrong.
I engaged in all sorts of self-talk last night when I was done sobbing and questioning myself. I reminded myself that one accident does not change the person I am, does not negate the warmth and love I intentionally radiate out into the Universe every day. I progressed to wondering why I thought I was exempt from making big mistakes, effectively reminding myself that I am human like everyone else.
But I still woke up sad.
During a break in the rain this morning, I pulled the leash over CB's head and we quietly strolled through the neighborhood. While I recall looking at this house we live in during the Spring months last year, I have not yet lived a Spring here and I was reminded of the potential beauty that will surround us in a month or so. Trees are beginning to form the tiniest of leaves and buds, bulbs are poking up all around in flower beds and the birds are flipping from bush to bush gathering nesting material and chatting all the while.
I came home, lit a candle in my office, and sat cross-legged on the floor.
Ever since the accident yesterday, I realize I have been working hard to find some reason that this happened. I have also been working really hard to 'talk' to those two women who were so angry with me last night, to defend myself and explain when I know their judgment was more about themselves and their fears than anything they thought they knew about me.
What I learned this morning by being quiet and really listening, really paying attention, is that Spring is coming. I need only to settle in and raise my head and heart to the sunlight and continue to stretch for the warmth in order to use what is already within me to rise up and flourish. That by listening to myself and the core of who I know I am, I can truly hear what I need to and express it in the best way possible.