Every year around this time, without fail, I feel it. After my annual spring cold, which feels like my body’s way of expelling winter, the first warm days reignite something in my soul. I want to throw on my running sneakers and take off; I want to start working on the vegetable garden, feel the soil between my fingers; I want to walk barefoot in the cool grass; ride horses through the woods to see the leaves unfurling on the trees; Cook risotto with spring peas and asparagus; Clean out my closets; open all the windows, let the fresh, damp spring air in; Read a book in the shade of a blooming cherry tree. I want to transport myself to my childhood bedroom and lie down on my little bed with the windows wide open at dusk to listen to the orchestra of peepers and crickets, playing their springtime symphony just for me.
Spring is the time of renewal, rebirth, resurrection. A time for healing.
This winter was heavy, heavier than any other winter I’ve ever experienced. Though I always tend to feel sad in the darker months, this winter had the added ingredient of grieving, grieving the loss of someone dear to me who died far too young and unexpectedly.
As a prenatal yoga teacher, I am often coaching my students on breathing through pain. Breathing through discomfort. Breathing because sometimes that’s all we can do. Breathing because our breath is home.
This winter, when my husband lost his 23 year old brother, Michael, in a car accident, he said to me one morning, “we need to learn how to breathe again.” How right he was.
I feel the moments when grief has a hold on me, when my breath stops entirely because my heart is aching from missing him. I’m learning how to live with him inside of me. It is difficult work, and not unlike labor.
I’m thankful for my practice, grateful it grants me awareness to notice my breath and to bring me back, time and time again.
I’m also thankful for spring, thankful that even after the darkest of winters, this season of rebirth can bring me such peace.
This year, we are planting our garden for Michael. When the arugula sprouts tiny leaves and the tomato plants start to flower, I’ll know that he is with me and that I am breathing… for him and for me.
Photo Credit: Erik Leigh Simmons