A few weekends ago I spent the morning with Elaine preparing the garden for the winter. As I was working, I noticed a butterfly weed seed pod that had broken open from the overnight chill, exposing the silky fluff attached to the seeds. I happened to be there just at the time the pod had opened but before the wind had started to scatter the seeds all throughout the neighborhood.
As I took a photo, I began to realize what an apropos metaphor this little seed pod was for how we are feeling as a family this November. It turns out every one of us is in some state of significant transition, and we are heading into the winter waiting to see which way the wind will blow. In some cases, the waiting brings with it eager anticipation (Sam applying for college), and in others it creates anxiety (major budget cuts, including faculty layoffs, are going to be announced this week at my college.)
So, uncertainty abounds, and with it some anxiety and fear. But also hopefulness. And optimism. I have put a lot of thought into what role my little pottery and art business might have in all this. What would it look like to go full time? Wholesale or retail? What role might teaching, or mentoring, have in my future business? Online, or brick and mortar location? SO many possibilities, so many “seeds.” When do I know it’s the right time to go for it? Is there a right time to go for it?
As I thought about those little butterfly weed seeds, I remembered something else. Like most of the plants native to this area, those seeds need the cold winter months in order to germinate. If you collect the seeds, bring them inside, and plant them in the Spring, you don’t get plants- at least for a year. The seeds are not just designed to survive the winter, they actually need it.
And maybe that’s the case with all of my little “seeds” for future possibilities. As tempting as it is to make a decision just to relieve the stress of the uncertainty, maybe living in the uncertainty is my “winter,” which will allow the right seeds to sprout. Maybe what’s needed more than a decision is patience.
As we head into the Christmas season, I am reminded that Advent is designed to be a season of anticipatory and even anxious waiting. Then Christmas arrives: the light of the world arriving in the darkest of winter. I have a feeling that this year those two seasons are going to have more meaning for me than usual.
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the studio chair
A place for me to ramble on when I need to take a break.