We are in the midst of spring here in Kansas City. The up and down temperatures have somewhat dampened the new flowers and buds on our big, beautiful trees, but as I look outside, the sun is shining and the wind is no doubt carrying kites and seeds and birds to new destinations. We celebrated the start of the baseball season with our world champion Kansas City Royals. The Kansas City Symphony is performing Gershwin’s lively “An American in Paris” this weekend. Conversations around town range from morel mushroom hunting and school field trips to patio weather and outdoor festivals.
I love the rhythms of this season. I love the awakening of the earth, the smell of green. I do not have my mother’s green thumb, but my favorite smell is of the earth after a spring shower. I breathe in the musty, grassy, watery, elemental nature of it all. I spent the afternoon yesterday at a local park that overlooks the mighty Missouri River, the “Big Muddy” water that flows through Missouri, near all the places I have lived in this state. I watched the wind ripple the river’s surface. I followed the whirlpools my grandfather warned me about as a kid as they roiled and boiled and raced downstream. I saw the light of the sun break through the clouds only to hide again for a smattering of rain drops to fall. I celebrated the renewal of life on the planet and gave thanks for the season to come.
The seasons are important in this part of the world. At my family’s farm equipment business in rural Missouri, conversations at “the tractor store” often revolved around the conditions for planting, the winter snow and spring rains needed to carry the crops through the furnace of July and August, the hectic nature of harvest. The external world determines, to a large degree, the fortunes of an agricultural community, and Kansas City by extension, as a city with a significant focus on agribusiness.
The seasons are important to me. And yet, I live a lot of my days inside my head. I think and ask questions and reason and write for a living. I apply rules to facts and make conclusions and suggest remedies. I am more connected to a computer than the earth most days. Many of us are, in this knowledge economy. Our jobs do not change with the seasons. Humanity has not evolved to handle this well. Part of us yearns for a return to that seasonal rhythm of life despite our love for consistent home temperatures and our favorite fruit no matter the time of year.
I am in the middle season of my life. I find I am gaining an appreciation for all of the rhythms of the earth: growth, decay, death, renewal. I embrace Ecclesiastes 3:1-8’s promise of a season for everything under Heaven. I am more concerned with preserving and restoring the Earth’s beauty and health and that of the people who live in it. I am more aware of my own smallness. I am grateful for my awareness of the beauty around me. I am mindful of making sure my children notice it and rejoice. I am drinking it in.
Happy Spring!!! I am celebrating this weekend with my son’s soccer and some kite-flying. You? I hope you connect with nature in some way and share with me.