March marks a time of transition from winter to spring, death to life, lion to lamb. Transitions, however, are never as straightforward as we might wish, as anyone who has ever experienced a late March blizzard will attest. Change is more a series of one step forward, two behind. Small, incremental differences which build up messily, incoherently, relentlessly like an Impressionist painting. (And sometimes Abstract Expressionist, like Jackson Pollock). Step back from the canvas after awhile, though, and an entirely new vision of the world emerges.
Impatience for change is natural and invigorating. More lasting, effective results, however, come from patience, from standing back occasionally to see the whole, the place of something in the larger scheme of things. The grass that grows quickly from new seedlings (because we cannot bear a bare lawn for long) cannot weather the stresses of summer heat. Better to use the slow-growing variety that creates deeper roots and hardier blades.
One of my favorite quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson is “The journey of the best ship is a zig-zag line of a hundred tacks.” I try to remember this whenever life takes an unexpected turn, especially one that is stormy and tumultuous. It’s all part of my larger voyage. And perhaps through the dark clouds I’ll espy a landscape I never imagined.