By Lynn Koerbel, a teacher and trainer at CFM—who finds endless lessons in weather, seasons and the natural world.
I was reminded of a quote last week as the snow flew and raw cold continued—flaunting the calendar page marked “April.” Here it is, from Parker Palmer:
“There is a hard truth to be told: before spring becomes beautiful, it is plug ugly, nothing but mud and muck. I have walked in the early spring through fields that will suck your boots off, a world so wet and woeful it makes you yearn for the return of ice. But in that muddy mess, the conditions for rebirth are being created.”
Last fall I planted bulbs and wrote about that experience here (link). Last week, in the middle of snow and rain, those grape hyacinths and the startling yellow daffodils defied the precipitation and pushed through the mud and muck, through the plug ugly to show their ravishing selves.
Last week, my friend and colleague Carolyn West, with whom I often teach, taught me about veritidas, a central theme of Hildegarde de Bingen’s life work. I’ve been reading about this and thinking about the pulse of life—especially in the spring. The origin of veritidas seems to be a combination of two Latin words: Green and Truth. Green as in growth, freshness, vitality, and vigor. And Truth—as in what is true, real, whole, entire. Can you feel, even in reading these words, the energy of veritidas? Green truth? Of growth—continuous and in alignment with what is deeply recognized, intimate and known.
Nature is such a generous mirror, and we are not outside this majesty.
We, too, push through the mud and muck to show our ravishing selves. But we are apt to recognize this more in others than ourselves. Children, especially, remind us. Yet each of us moves through that which wants to metaphorically suck our boots off. We persevere. We fall down. We get up. Over and over… The greenness of new life depends on the muck and mess of primordial ooze. We may want the glory without the fight, the birth without the pain, the ease of night without the toil of day, but it just doesn’t work like that.
We fight the truth of the natural world until we wake up and see the patterns that foster life. We plant bulbs. And if we’re lucky, the conditions are such that they bloom. It’s not rocket science: It’s both simpler and far more complex than that. It depends on the darkness of night, the coldness of winter, and the patience and trust that the sunlight will return.
So, however veritidas is arriving where you live and grow, step out into the light. Greet yourself with as the same enthusiasm you reserve for the buds and blossoms, the unfurling green, the sound of bird song. What have you planted and waited for?