The first day of spring
A nature relatedness practice for celebrating the coming of spring
Happy New Year!
Even though Julius Caesar made 1 January the calendrical new year, it wasn´t until about 400 years ago that we really made the change.
Why? Because when most people were directly involved in agriculture, it made no sense to celebrate the new year in the dormant winter and all the sense in the world to celebrate new year when spring came and with it, the growing season. What´s more hopeful than renewal?!
New Year´s resolutions originated at the vernal equinox because people were effectively making deals with the gods to ensure the spring and summer weather conditions would lead to an abundant harvest. How did all of this change? Well new fangled technologies like the clock moved humans away from the habit of relying on the sun to tell time. As life began to progress away from the field and towards the factory and then the office, we started to orchestrate our time around a human clock, not the one dictated by the sun.
It has changed what we humans think we can control (about ourselves and the rest of the natural world). It has changed what we humans expect from ourselves, others and the natural world in terms of productivity. How do you think the pace of your life would be different if you organised your days, weeks and years around our planet´s orbit of the sun? I suspect, we would all feel much more connected to nature, more aware that Mother Nature is the one who is really in charge and perhaps, we would all take a bit more time to just breathe as well.
Beginner’s Mind question
Consider the world at a time before the industrial revolution, before electricity, refrigeration, fast paced transportation, globalisation.
Set yourself in that frame of mind, visualise a life for yourself then.
In that frame of mind, consider the Beginner’s Mind question for this practice:
Why was the first day of spring the day to celebrate New Year for most of human history?
Ritual – setting your intentions for spring
Resolution time. Or, how about intention setting time!
What intent will you set to develop your nature related awareness in the season to come?
Remember that building new habits takes time. Acting on your intent means acquiring new knowledge, asking new questions and then translating thought to action. The more we act with intent, the more we live our values and lives of purposeful meaning. It doesn’t have to be big. It can be as small as; I want to stop and smell the roses more. But, I also want to know why humans are so attracted to the scent of roses. Did the roses develop that scent to attract humans? What value might roses bring to nature aside from our pleasure? And why do certain flowers grow in my neighbourhood, but not others. Ah, see how the curiosity blooms! See how seeking to find answers to those questions builds your understanding of yourself as nature. See how every time you stop to smell the roses it now reinforces your intent live a life more harmony with nature. Oh, that will MAGNIFY the scent of the rose in your life a million times over.
Now that spring has sprung, resolve to partake in some food web thinking along these lines. Consider an animal, and insect, a plant that is prolific in your local area – but not something that you would eat and how on earth that is connected to the food on your plate and how nature is not out there, but in you.
Happy New Year!