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The Potent Dormancy of Winter

March '08

When you live in the Northeast and have grown weary of seeing bare trees and dead ground, a Flower Show can be the perfect remedy. I was lucky enough to attend two this year – one in Rhode Island, last month, with my younger son and his family and one in Philadelphia, last weekend, with my older son and his family.

The Rhode Island show featured a fairy tale theme, replete with a flowery wolf in grandmother’s bed, Humpty Dumpty perched on the wall of a gorgeous English garden and a fairy princess handing out flashlight wands to all the children – my grandkids loved these! In Philly where the theme was “Jazz it Up,” we entered the exhibition hall to the smell of spring and the sound of a New Orleans jazz band. If the swaths of spring tulips couldn’t brighten your spirits, the foot-stomping music of Big Sam certainly could.bonnieleonardtulipbeds.jpg

The seasonal shift this time of year reminds us of the implicit order of all transitions. Winter has to come before spring. But at the end of winter, most of us hunger for any hint of new life. We want to see buds on trees, red on swamp maple branches, and bulbs poking up through the ground. We need hope that we’re coming to the end of a long, and sometimes lonely, period.

And so it is with all life transitions. In that liminal, in-between, stage, we become anxious for the new life of our dreams to arrive. We search avidly for any signs of its upcoming appearance. We weary of the long dormancy state that life transitions require – especially significant ones like the midlife passage.

It’s challenging to remember that a different kind of activity is going on beneath the surface, because we can’t see it. But without this quiescent period there would be no new life – no fields of daffodils and tulips. So we require inspiration to help chase away the discontent of our winter. And as far as I’m concerned a Spring Flower show is just the ticket! How about you – what’s yours?


Bonnie Leonard EdD,CLC


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