Five years ago my partner and I started a backyard prairie. My education in prairie tending is slowly progressing, and one of my favorite things is to look for young plants arriving in the spring. I love to go searching for happy little bursts of life after a long Wisconsin winter (this is fun out in the kettles, too!). Every year I recognize a few more plants in their baby-state. Early spring growth often starts out reddish purple because of all the sugars needed to sustain growth this time of year. They are chock full of potential, and taking the brave step to poke out of the ground on cold, wet, and windy days. Spring 2022 has had a slow start, this has been a practice in patience and anticipation.
I think most of my life I spent anticipating what's next, which makes it very challenging to be present in the moment. Typically, if I'm waiting for something to happen I go deep into imagining what it will be like, I am living in the future, future conversations, future ideas, future results or consequences. I will sometimes plunge myself into preparation, which can build into worry and anxiety. Or if it's a good thing coming, I will say things like "I can't wait to see you!" When I'm being mindful, I'll say something like "I'm excited to see you" or "looking forward to it!" I don't want to wish away time, and I don't want to live in the future place of my mind that isn't appreciating time where I am right now.
These little sprouts are the embodiment of anticipation. They are full of all the potential growth to become a tall prairie plant that grows above my head. It's easy to dream of long summer days and the season of lush growth and bountiful flowers, but this is where it starts: Small little purple leaves pushing through the damp spring soil and emerging past the dried stalks of last year. I'll try to be mindful of this moment: appreciate the courage it takes to be small, experience the excitement of starting fresh and start to emerge myself out of my own dormant winter.
What are you anticipating?
Are you a patient observer, or do you like to cut to the chase?
What helps get through the long drawn out stretches of cold rainy days?
Are you chock full of potential and ready to strike out into spring, or do you need some more time to prepare?