Springtime in the Soul

When I first began to embrace the seasonal celebrations embodied in Waldorf festivals, I was a very ambitious little mama. Armed with my copy of All Year Round and a host of inspiring blogs, I dreamed of making every wonderful project I got wind of. I wanted to do all the crafts and projects at once, to sit down and industriously—but peacefully! Don’t forget the peaceful part—whip out what I felt were the requisite adornments for whatever season we happened to be in.

If it was spring, well, that meant a bevy of flower fairies, wheat grass growing in a basket, eggs died with baths of cabbage and beets and onion skins. Spring meant knitted bunnies, paper windmills and kites, crowns with streaming ribbons in pastel colors, and bright new dresses to sew.

In addition to all this stuff to do there was the songs and fingerplays I wanted to learn, new recipes to try out, Easter and may-day parties to host or attend, and birthday presents to make. Oh, and garden beds to prepare for planting and seeds to start. It all seemed so good, so beautiful and fanciful. With so many possibilities laid out before me I felt compelled, nay, driven, to give it my all.

We live in a world so concerned with productivity and material achievement that it is easy to give myself over to how important and urgent all this feels.

Indeed, all of these things on my to-do list are well and good. Each has its place in bringing beauty and richness to life, to the slowly unfolding days. But to really feel the season moving in my soul, I have to slow way down. Almost to a stop.

When I release myself from that expectation of constant doing, I am able to connect more fully with the inner gesture of the season. From that stillness, I have found that the impulse we all have towards celebration and creativity comes bubbling up naturally enough. Things will get done. Not every thing, but the right things.

And so I’ve learned to chuck the springtime to-do list. Indeed, the natural world is busily taking care of the details—providing the perfect back drop of returning bird song, flowers poking up from the snow, rain bringing thaw and trees bursting into bloom. My dear friend scoffs at the idea of dying eggs. “Our goose just started laying again,” she says. “What could be more magical than that?”

Don’t get me wrong—we will be dying a few eggs. You bet we’ve got a nature table up with a basket of wheat grass and apple branches that refuse to bloom hung with Easter egg ornaments. And this was the year I finally got around to making a flower fairy. These are the small rituals that manifest my inner experience of renewal and beauty. Sometimes they even lead the way, nudging me like any good symbol does, towards the truth that is sometimes unseen.

I am learning, though, that the simpler, the better. That less is so much more. That I can save things for future years. That sometimes, what seems like a lovely idea, is really a big stress. And that my to-do list, no matter how Waldorfy, rushes me through the days, not just of Spring, but this brief season of life with my tiny children. And so I am reminding myself that it’s not simply what I do or make that brings meaning to anything. It is what lives in my heart and fills our days with grace. Attending to that is all I really need to do.

Our very small children are inherently reverent, in awe of the world they have so newly entered, and still connected to the divine place they come from. We can join them in that grace with our presence.

No knitted bunnies required.

17 Replies to “Springtime in the Soul”

  1. You are on the right track. I raised 9 kids & we used the baskets we already had around the house & they gathered grass for their own baskets. Some years we did natural dyes, but other years we didn’t. The main thing is to give them the gift of freedom, time and your attention. The most fun is figuring things out for yourself– and themselves– & not rely on other people’s ideas for everything. My “babies” are between 31 & 58 now.

    1. Oh, it’s so good to hear this from you. We can be so serious about everything when our babies are babies! And I think the two words you mention, fun and freedom, will be my guides…

  2. Love this, Kyce.
    The inner gesture of the season.
    I completely trust in the inner gesture of the season to provide all the wonder and beauty and curiosity they need.

  3. You are so true Kyce. The kids and I have been spending time outdoors in the afternoon enjoying the spring warmth (still snow here though), looking for signs of spring. Noticing. This is enough. And like Alice says – fun & freedom.

  4. I feel like giving you a big Baptist “Hallelujah” for this post…and I am Eastern Orthodox. We don’t yell hallelujah 🙂 But you are right on!

  5. YES, yes! Thank you! You are echoing my thoughts this spring exactly. I have gotten so busy with my four and all that we have to do, that the equinox came and went. In the past I was super-mama who would plan a fun activity/craft/dinner/treat and it was of course a memorable day. . . this year we had so much to do. I realized what we did on the equinox was this: we hung laundry out. We planted seeds and tended the gardens. We were outside all day long. We ate outside (regular food). I realized: it was the perfect, natural way to celebrate spring. Then I thought further about all of it, and how we’ve changed as a family since I first discovered waldorf years ago, and now. I have not looked through my crafty books as much as I used to, and I also find that my older two often lead the way for celebration.
    I too am embracing the simple ways to celebrate the seasons and festivals. No knitted bunnies required.

    1. <>

      That is interesting how you see yourself changing over the years – it sounds like some settling into the rhythms and really making them your own. I’m still in the first couple years of having found waldorf and feeling guilty/not measuring up every time a time for celebration comes and goes and I have not *done* everything I thought would be such a good idea… I like having the thought that perhaps in a few more years, as we’ve lived it more and as my boys get older, that we’ll be a bit more settled in and grounded in us and *our* simple ways of being and celebrating the seasons and celebrations.

      1. Ooh, I like where this conversation is going. I think that as young mothers (that is, mothers of young children), our journey towards embracing the essence and simplicity of all parts of life is ongoing. As we grow in confidence, solidify in our traditions, and watch our children begin to contribute in their authentic way, we are able to let go of that “outer form” we might hold on to at first for a sense of stability and direction. We are more concerned with doing things “right” and not quite ready to trust the process of discovery and rhythm and all the rest.
        Thank you both so much for your comments!

  6. And yes, less is so much more. No child wants a stressed, tired, grouchy Mama who stayed up too late planning activities or knitting little figures (that end up lost). Just a walk outside in the woods together means more to them! And with very small children, the hoopla often is too overstimulating anyhow. My youngest hated Christmas, for instance (though it was a very quiet at home one). He hated the interruption to his rhythm, and cried all day.

  7. Here, here, Kyce! Also, I just spent some time dipping into the back pages of your amazing blog…so many beautiful posts here. Where, may I ask, did you grow up? So stunning, that mountain.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the archives here! I grew up partly in Northern New Mexico, about 40 miles north of Taos. That mountain is Ute Mountain, the tallest free standing mountain in the US, I’ve heard.

  8. I’m years behind on this post but happy to read it now. Just discovering Waldorf and dreaming up crafts, toys, and festivals I can celebrate one day with my now 8 month old son. Good to stop and think before I even get started.

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