Today’s theme: once a year. We were in Unalakleet, Alaska this spring as the cottonwood buds were coming alive and filling the air with the heavy perfume of spring. Where I come from we call it the Balm of Gilead, and it only happens once a year. I loved that I could go up the hills to find this smell, and then return to the sea ice and its solid sense of cold (that’s me, on the sea wall).
Now I’m home, in Ottawa, Canada, and I’m present to so many things that only happen once a year: tulips blooming, maple trees flowering, yellow-rumped warblers returning. The first red-winged blackbird trill. The first smell of mown grass. Grape hyacinths in a tiny vase. Maybe where you live, in another hemisphere, it’s time for the first chilly nights of the year. Maybe it’s a life-giving rain.
I’m usually put off when others remind me to notice things. Because there isn’t enough time for living when you have a mile long list of mindfulness tasks to get through (yes, I know I’m missing the point). And who should tell you what to look at anyway, right? But I’m pretty jazzed about this once a year thing because it’s making me present to tiny cycles and circles I never recognized before.
What’s happening near you, right now, that won’t happen again until next year? Worldwide firsts! Every day!