Spring Yearnings

– Posted in: Personal Growth

My earliest memories are tied to a mission station in Kenya, on the equator on the West Coast of Africa. The climate was fairly mild all year round with no clear demarcation between winter and summer. There was a rainy season and sometimes we needed sweaters at night, but I don’t recall any mention of Spring or Fall.

Jacarandas in Pretoria

During my high school and early university years, we lived near Johannesburg in South Africa where it did get much colder during the winter. Most mornings there would be frost on the lawn and frozen icicles hanging down from the garden water tap. We had no heating system in the house and to keep warm, we relied on a wood and coal burning Aga Stove in the kitchen, one or two electric heaters, a wood-burning fireplace in the evenings, and lots of layers of clothes. I remember lying in bed in the mornings not wanting to get out because I knew I would only be truly warm again in the evening when I got back to bed after a hot bath.

That did make for more noticeable spring weather and one of my favorite memories is from my first year at the University of Pretoria. The city has jacaranda trees everywhere and in the springtime they create a blanket of pale purple everywhere you look. Since Spring coincides with end of year exams, student legend had it that if you stood under a jacaranda tree and a blossom fell on your head, you would pass your exams. Needless to say, many students spent more time under the jacaranda trees than with their books!

Spring in Namaqualand

Cape Town winters are fairly mild, so again, from my years there, no dramatic memories of Spring other than driving up the South Coast to see the famous Namaqualand flowers in the springtime. If you time it just right, you can drive for many miles through fields of flowers as far as you can see: a magic carpet of color.

The next eighteen years I spent in Northern California. There’s a reason many South Africans move to California when they migrate to the US: it’s not that we’re drawn to earthquakes, but because the weather in California is most similar to what we’re used to back home – mild with fairly low-key, non-dramatic Spring and Autumn seasons.

Now that I live in Phoenix, Arizona, Spring feels like a joke this year. Last week we hit our first three 90+ days and we’re only in the middle of March!

So it’s interesting to think about what Spring really means to me. Even though I don’t have the concept burned into my psyche, I’m strongly drawn to the new growth and beauty that come with Spring. To me they represent possibilities for change, for letting go of the old and ushering in the new and fresh.

This year that means the possibility of a major move: 1,300 miles from Phoenix to Portland, Oregon. I’ve been thinking about this for the past five months: dreaming, researching, imagining, looking up apartments on, plotting a driving route and trying to decide if through California or Nevada would be easiest.

Why am I even thinking about such a major upheaval to my life? Moving out of my current roommate situation, disrupting the balance of my fragile new business, juggling less than stable finances, packing all my possessions into a truck for what will most likely be a four day drive to a city I’ve never even been to before. I did drive by Portland when I met family along the Columbia River in the late nineties and again on a drive to Seattle in the early two thousands, but didn’t stop for a closer look.

So why am I so drawn to this idea?

I admit there could be a touch of my familiar tendency to move somewhere new in the hope that everything in my life will magically be better: home, relationships, finances, weight, everything! But this time, there’s more.

Yes, it’s a way to escape another summer in the Phoenix Furnace, but there’s much more driving this yearning.

Portland, Oregon

It has to do with listening to the yearnings in my soul. I crave trees and water after the wonderful, but stark dryness of the desert. I yearn for stillness and quiet at home – to get back to living on my own where it’s easier to connect with myself: who I am, what I need, what I want without focusing on what I think others need from me; a space to settle in with all I’ve learned the past few years; a space to birth the new me that wants to emerge.

It has to do with for the first time in my life, listening for the whispered voice of my intuition rather than the familiar voice of logic. The whisper that’s telling me there are unseen energies that are pulling me towards new experiences and that I need the right physical environment to connect to what’s new and waiting for me.

This could be the most significant spring I’ve ever experienced: this yearning on so many different levels, to connect to the new energies that are already bursting out in my life; to create something new and fresh like nothing that has come before.

What are you yearning for this Spring? What wants to emerge in your life? I’d love to hear about it…

PS. Many thanks to Martin Heigan for permission to use his beautiful Namaqualand image.

4 comments… add one
Sandi Shroads March 17, 2013, 12:58 pm

Wow Maryna – this is so exciting! Bravo for you! I guess I’d better get busy and get you the things you need to finish my fabulous website! For your readers, if you haven’t hired Maryna yet to create your website, now’s the time. She’s fabulous to work with and I’m already getting great comments on my site, even though it’s not quite finished. Thanks Maryna!

Maryna Smuts March 17, 2013, 1:17 pm

Thanks, Sandi! You’re a Sweetheart to work with and I can’t wait to see your finished site. We’re almost there. 🙂

rebecca @ altared spaces July 1, 2013, 12:47 pm

Hooray for Portland!! It’s such a GREAT city! My daughter goes to school there. Did you make the move?

Maryna Smuts July 2, 2013, 9:08 pm

Yes, Portland is lovely! I got to visit in April. Sadly the move isn’t going to happen this summer, but I hope to pull it all together next spring. Would love to see you there when you visit your daughter.

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