The rain has come down in streaks all week, but I don’t mind. It’s the change of seasons, the transition from yellow, parched grass to turning-green.

On the way home from school, Shaya noticed tulip shoots beneath the matted damp ground. “Buds!” he exclaimed. “Flowers are coming up!”

Sure enough, they are. Everywhere around us, things are blooming, growing, opening.

Today at school, I bought a tiny blue book with the title, “The Calendar of the Soul.” It is a little reverent book to bless the days and weeks by season, beginning with Easter. In the opening note, it explains:

IMG_5714“When Rudolf Steiner was questioned about the change of dates that occurs from year to year, he stressed that one must always begin with the first verse at Easter.” For him, the year began with the spring thaw and the blooming of possibility heralded by the Easter season.

So, too, in our Jewish tradition, the month in which Passover falls, Nissan, is considered the first month of the year – even though our new year comes in the fall, in the month of Tishrei. It’s confusing for those of us who mark a new year as the beginning – in a way, it is.

But even more is this new beginning after the long dark winter.

For months, we have literally stayed inside to keep warm. We have snuggled beneath our blankets in the ink-dark, pulling close together for warmth. We have slept more and moved more slowly. We have eaten heavier foods to hold us.

As the winter sheds its darkness and its thick skin, we open up to the possibilities of the spring. Everything that comes after is like a long-awaited promise.

All of the beautiful fresh produce in Israel is courtesy of the extreme weather. I wouldn't have it any other way.
All of the beautiful fresh produce in Israel is courtesy of the extreme weather. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Even though it comes every year, we so eagerly welcome it in. We have waited so long, we exclaim, desperately! When will the long winter end.

But you see, it is just a period of time. Every time begins with acclaim and ends with relief. Every season weighs on us in its own way. We anticipate its good side but we ignore its bad side, for everything comes with dualities.

I can see the long days ahead, when summer is in its height and the days stretch to triple-digits. Thick humidity, palpable dampness, the heaviness of a Midwest summer. And at those moments, we will beckon the colder months as a gift, to give us relief for what we think is unbearable, but which really is not.

Me in a meditation dome at the ashram in India's north, where the Beatles learned Transcendental Meditation.
Me in a meditation dome at the ashram in India’s north, where the Beatles learned Transcendental Meditation.

When I was in Bali three years ago, my wooden windows flung open in the middle of the night from the violent rains. It didn’t scare me; I reveled in the extremeness of the rain, of its passion flinging itself from the heavens to the ground.

What we loved about being in Bali was the verdant freshness, everywhere green and lush, every delicious fruit and vegetable in perfect bloom all year round. Well, then, we must thank the rain for its coming and hope it comes again and again.

When I was in India last year, I loved walking on the stripped-down streets in my layers – early morning, bundled into sweaters and coats, but afternoons on the lawn, face tilted to the Himalayan sun. Warmed by nature, by what is all around me, by this gift of this beautiful world, I cannot lament any of its moods.

It is all good, all the time. When we get to extremes, let it be a mirror for the Self, where we notice the backing-away of the too-much time, the intensity so hard to bear, but really an extension of the passion deep within us, which we all so adore.

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