March 5, 2021
Walking through the fields at Avalon, preparing my mind for my upcoming classes. The children will return. They will run along the paths and laugh. Together we will discover the skeletons of winter. The tall hollow false sunflower stems and the yellowed grasses which flip and flutter in the wind. There is so much emptiness between the winter’s leftovers, yet so many things to discover.
One can walk swiftly through the fields, but if you slow your pace you will begin to see not only remains of the past but new beginnings waiting to erupt in the warmth of the sun. I see the egg cases of the praying mantis attached to the stems in the fields. They holds thousands of babies which will emerge with the consistent sun and increased temperatures. They are hidden in the empty space. Waiting.
Look! They are there, last year’s nests perched in the invasive multiflora rose. Hours and hours of work left behind for us to wonder at. Encouraging us to imagine the new ones that will be built in the coming months. Nestled in the thorns, I wonder which babies emerged from these sanctuaries?
The wine berry bushes, all hairy and spined with thorns. The garnet color telling us to STOP! The interior of the plant telling itself to stop, it is not time to send out your leaves. Leaves that will fill all of those empty spaces of the plant. It reminds me of the days when we were lucky enough to pick the berries as a trailside snack.
Gently gaze into the treetops whose branches reach toward the sky. It is easy to spot the mourning dove cooing from above and the chickadees flitting about. One day the spaces will hide the birds from our view and they will carefully build the egg laying baskets weaved from the dead grasses waving in the field. The cycle continues.
All of these empty spaces take on such meaning and call to us to explore. Look beyond the off white stems and tired winter trees. There is treasure to be found.