Some people like to look at the turning of a new year as a fresh start. Resolutions are made, plans sketched out for the coming year, whatever it may be. For me, spring is the beginning of “a new year.” This season is all about rebirth and seems to me a much more fitting time to make plans for the near future as everything around is waking up and just bursting with possibility.
The seedlings are beginning to emerge from our carefully planted trays, the first stalks of asparagus are peeking their heads above the soil, the daffodils are lighting up the borders of walkways and garden beds with their sunny little faces. And the kids, well the kids -and myself- seem to have a lighter, airier countenance about ourselves.
The thing about resolutions, renewal, let’s face it, change, is that it’s not easy, right? If it were, we would all be exactly who we want to be by just making little corrections to whatever it is we identify as needing an adjustment. The problem is, old habits and thoughts die hard. In a past post, I proudly told the tale of Donovan, who “conquered” his fear of worms when we began our worm composting adventure in February.
A day or two ago, we were in the garden and I had an assembly line of sorts set up. I had one student raking out the most recent additions to the top of the compost pile, another student shoveling out the half finished compost from beneath and loading it on to our giant sifter, and lastly, I asked Donovan to be the sifter, brushing the organic matter back and forth over the hardware cloth, allowing the finished compost to fall between the squares into a wheelbarrow.
When I described to Donovan what I expected of him, he got an anxious look on his face, crinkled his nose and immediately said, “But I’m afraid of worms.” “What?” I asked with incredulity. “Don’t you remember how you conquered that fear working with the worms in the greenhouse?” “It didn’t take.” He responded without missing a beat.
After a few minutes, a bit of encouragement and a pair of gloves, Donovan shimmied up to the sifter and did his thing. Although it would be great if we could swiftly overcome fears or habits, the reality is change takes time, and practice. Donovan and I will more likely have similar exchanges here and there in the weeks and months to come, rather than simply checking “worm phobia” off his proverbial list. And that’s okay. Tipping the scales into the desired balance takes time for all of us. But, if ever there were a motivating time to start bringing things into alignment, I’d say spring is that time.