art : nature : words
Indoor and Outdoor Art Therapist
Indoor and Outdoor Art Therapist
The changes we see in nature during March can be some of the most dramatic of the year and can resonant deeply with our own fascination with transformation. Compelling TV shows treat us to instant transformation – whether that be someone’s house, their appearance or lifestyle. However, Nature has its own celebrities, not least the Hare. March is dating season for the Hare and it’s the period when they let their guard down, racing around open grassland adjacent to arable fields. Although they are usually solitary, you may be lucky enough to see the females boxing with their ardent suitors. The hare is often associated with moon deities and signifies rebirth, resurrection and fertility.
From March onwards the black bowler hats of Tadpoles with their wiggling ribbon-tails, can be found tucked away in sheltered pools and ponds. This is the start of their eleven-week transformation that will see them emerge as hopping frogs. Look up into the trees and you will see neighbourhoods of noisy rooks. Atop their arboreal high-rises they have start their cacophonous breeding (no wonder the collective name for these raucous birds is a Parliament of Rooks).
By the end of the month we are treated to a riot of colour but my favourite is the carpet of brilliant white stars that is the Wood Anemone. We feel the warming sunshine on our faces but the cold wind still nips at our ears and snaps at our fingers. We begin, still on winter’s icy shore but by the end we are standing on the Spring Bank. The air is filled with promise, our senses are stirred as colour returns to the world.
However, whilst the appearance of transformation draws our attention – from nature’s point of view it is only part of the yearly cycle. There is something very seductive about the thought of being transformed into the person you’ve always wanted to be. But I would offer that we are all different and life is about realising our potential - whilst coming to terms with our imperfections.
Up in the mountains, streams begin to flow with movement and life. The water is tantalising, sparkling in the new sun. Yet dip your fingers in and you’ll find it still meltwater-cold. We are tempted to cross but wonder whether it is safe. We only really know what the other bank has in store until we cross over. Standing on the shadowed shore we can peer, fantasise, walk up and down, trying to find the courage to making the leap. How often do we pause on a bridge to look at the stream rushing beneath us, feeling that we are watching life go by? The March equinox is one of the two thresholds of the year, marking the bridge between the dark half of the year and the lighter half. Balancing our own internal light and dark is a life’s work – there can be no light without shadow and vice versa.
For many animals – including ourselves – March marks the end of hibernation. For some people, the month sees their release from the cold grip of Seasonally Affective Disorder. Most butterflies will not wake from hibernation until early March when the first flowers appear, especially catkins which are a vital food source for butterflies so early in the year. There is something delicate yet robust about butterflies. They are a reminder that we may be stronger than we give ourselves credit. But often our emotional resources are frozen along with the aspects of ourselves we’d rather not look at. We may be frozen by our own guilt, shame or fear. However, strength can come through using love – for ourselves, for others, rather than our darker emotions. It is worth remembering that the softest of shoots have the capacity to push through the hardest of rocks.
The Art of Transformation
Transformation, in part, is about letting go of aspects of ourselves that hinder us and celebrating those facets that enhance our lives. Sometimes engaging with symbolic art making can assist in manifesting change.
You are invited to find a small stream that resonates with you. Then, find a natural object that represents that which you would wish to leave behind on Winter shore. Next, find or make an object that symbolises something you wish to take forward with you on to Spring’s bank.
Standing on Winter’s bank (it may be the shady side), hold Winter’s object in one hand and Spring’s object in the other. Take a moment to imagine that you are actually holding the two parts of yourself in the respective hand.
When you are ready, drop the Winter object to the ground and traverse the stream carrying only your Spring object. On reaching the sunny Spring bank, cradle the positive object in both hands. Embodying your new self, keep this object safe – it is the promise to yourself to allow transformation in to your life.
When Spring Doesn’t Arrive
In March, tantalizing greenery begins to emerge. Circles of colourful flowers appear, swaying and gossiping together. Our expectation is that we become more sociable with the advent of Spring. However, it may be that we find ourselves stuck in a wintery gloom that is not persuaded to lift. Sometimes looking at what should be a joyful sight further deepens the depression because we cannot engage with the anticipated delight.
Connecting with Nature’s positive energy may be a challenge and we find ourselves consigned to Winter’s icy shore with no bridge in sight. Even if a better life is possible, we may be fearful of taking the necessary steps. It can be hard to let go of the fear that protects us from disappointment, risk letting in the good for fear of having it taken away. However, recognising that we need someone to walk and talk along side us for a while is the first step across the rushing stream. Give yourself the gift of transformation - find someone who is knowledgeable about traversing the psychic terrain you wish to cross.