Realms of the Soul, March 2019

Ernest Hemingway wrote in A Moveable Feast,

“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest.”

Dickens wrote,

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”

Lewis Carroll’s rabbit said,

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

March is a month with multiple personalities; a transition between winter and summer; a time of year when your thoughts about the spring and summer ahead, often hop past the time and resources you have. It has snowed this month, warmed our hopes with several days of sun, and rained so hard that we could hear the sound of the creek while sitting inside by the fire.

The Realm this month celebrates several memories, current experiences, and some hopes about the month ahead.

Overly optimistic and longing for spring a couple of weeks ago, we – against our better judgment – planted several annuals in the garden. They were yellow and bright, lonely looking against the scale of the dormant perennial bed, and they were gone the next morning. We pondered the size of the slugs that must have eaten so many plants overnight, until – with the arrival of the afternoon – a large gray rabbit hopped out from under our deck. The statue of a rabbit in the Realm, a rabbit that once served as a doorstop, was prompted out of storage later that evening; this time to nibble at our imaginations in a far more prestigious place than being wedged against a door. The old statue also represents our appreciation for having had a wild rabbit appear from nowhere and bringing the wonderful surprise of its life into an otherwise gloomy day.

The pansies are blooming in relative safety, we hope, in pots on our deck and along with the light offered up by our thrift-shop-found candle, are a gift – as was the sight of the rabbit – to our winter-worn eyes.

The quail eggs have been around our house for years. We keep them for most the year in a box labeled “Easter.” A woman I worked with 40 years ago raised quail, pheasants, and some chickens called, “Easter Eggers” (breed: Araucanas) because of the colorful hues of the eggs they laid. Marge died of cancer 35 years ago, but the memory of her support, dependability, and the friendship she extended to everyone in a work setting that was considered quite challenging lives on in a box labeled “Easter” under our house. Here’s to all those people who are, and who were, “there for us” during the challenging days.

One of our daughters, when quite young, gave Kathy this little porcelain rabbit. Kathy keeps it on top of a dresser along with several other objects that remind her of special people and moments. We thought our spring Realm a good opportunity for the small rabbit to meet the other rabbit – the big one who lives most of the year in a box under our house or in front of a door. When special objects that haven’t met each other are brought together in one Realm, a special form of magic and a new kind of story is created.

I bought the silver ring bearing the image of Kokopelli years ago while on a camping trip in Monument Valley. I found the ring in a gift shop and wouldn’t have noticed it had it not been displayed under a huge ceramic plaque featuring a quote by the French philosopher Albert Camus.

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.”

The ring doesn’t fit anymore, but the quote does and placed in the Realm, the ring calls forth the memory of that trip and the spiritual intention of the quote; a reminder that, in the darkest of times, we need to remember the power of your own resilience.

The sea glass is a gathering of pieces that Kathy and I have found on beaches across our marriage and few that we found basking in a dish on the upper shelf of a house we bought to remodel. Over a great many years, the volume of the collection has grown. There are a couple of pieces that were found on a walk on Cape Cod, a couple of others from Hawaii, and some found near an old petroglyph while on a backpacking trip on the Olympic Peninsula. Scattering them in our late winter Realm, conjures the memories of all those summer moments and invokes an awareness of the power of nature to change not only objects but our views of what might become the most valuable objects in our lives.

A dish. Some moss from the woods or a craft store. Some eggs that you’ve hollowed yourself. Old rings, old gifts, pansies from a pot on the deck, and a candle or two – pretty simple stuff that once arranged in a Realm can represent and honor a lot of life’s beautiful moments and the memories provoked can stabilize and warm whatever kind of unpredictable day the month of March offers up.