As I write this, we just had our one year COVID-anniversary. Many of our most vulnerable loved ones are beginning to get vaccinated, and our son just returned to in-person school. Spring is in the air in more ways than one. It feels like a time of new beginnings.
But how do we know when to open? And how far or fast do we open up? When I come to these sticky spots, my first response is often to get anxious. (I know that’s not a good response, but it’s honest. That’s what happens to me!). Then I breathe and try to gather my wits. The best way for me to do some wit gathering is to spend some quiet time in nature. It’s where I hear my highest wisdom most clearly.
So with all this uncertainty around opening and new beginnings, I turned to the natural world and ask, “How do you know when to open up?” I look at the swelling buds on the lilacs behind my house. I look at the acorns, maple seeds, and fir cones on the ground. How do they know it’s time to open up? I notice not all of them seem ready. Some are still shut tightly. While others are tinged green and swollen with new life. Everyone seems to have their own timing.
Teaching What I Need to Learn
It seems in this life, that I am meant to teach what I need to learn myself. Today, I was teaching a lesson on seeds to a third grade class and was asked,
“How does a seed know when to open?”
“Well,” I found myself saying, “seeds take their cues from many different things. There are some chemical changes that happen inside the seed that start to trigger growth. But a lot of it is triggered by what happens around the seed. Often, it’s what breaks down the seed coat (hard protective shell) that tells the seed to open. For some seeds, it’s fire. For others, it’s the freeze/thaw cycle of winter, and still others need to go through the digestive system of an animal. Some seeds need some combination of these things to know it’s time to open up.”
The students all seemed to accept this without a lot more questions. I suppose it made sense to them that each seed had its own timing. Everyone is a little different after all. What works for one, might not work for another. They each have their reasons, but the important thing is that they listen to their own timing. No one feels rushed by the timing of another. They open when it feels right to them.
I find that kids and the natural world are my best teachers.
Art Classes for Kids and Families
These lessons from the natural world seem to show up for me exactly when I need to hear them. And often I find that they resonate with others too. I love to share what I learn by incorporating these ideas into art lessons for kids, families, and adults.
I am starting up my monthly *virtual* Art Nights again in April. I will hold an event on Friday, April 16th and Friday, May 21st from 4-7pm PST. I’d love to have you join me! We always do a slightly different project each time, but they always incorporate an honoring of our connection to each other and the natural world. To learn more and/or register, head over to my TicketLeap site.
I’ll also be leading my *virtual* Art and Nature Play Dates for 5-10 year olds again on Wednesday afternoons from 3-4pm PST starting again in April. You can have your child join for one art class or several! Each one explores a different theme and incorporates nature, art, and social/emotional learning. We always have a blast together. And we’d love to have your kids there too! Get more info and/or register right over here.
May you find some insight and opening in your own time and in keeping with your own rhythm. If one of my classes or my artwork can support you in this process of unfurling, I’d be delighted and honored. Until then, happy spring and here’s to new beginnings!
With love and gratitude,