The Symbolism of a Worm

8 years ago

This morning, after looking out my window and seeing that the snow that had blanketed the lawn for a week was completely gone, I went on my morning walk with Poops to the mailbox to get the newspaper.  As I walked up the road I noticed a worm, and then another one and another, all drying on the pavement. And I realized that in one week we had gone from winter with 13 degree temperatures and wind chill factors and six inches of snow to 60 degrees and worms seeking sunshine. And then I noticed the twittering of birds in the trees. Spring, yes, spring is coming. What a relief.

It’s not that I don’t like winter, after all, in Virginia it’s not so harsh and not so long, but still, I need a change. What could be better than a change from the cold and bare trees to colors on the ground and in the bushes and on the trees?  As a lover of fall and its vibrant colors I must say that this year, this year I cannot be happier about the change of seasons, even if it entails losing an hour of my life tomorrow and a vast number of sneezes.

What a relief that soon I will not feel confined, I will not feel forced to stay in because the sting of cold is so discomforting. I look forward to not having a built-in excuse for getting out, because I so much want to get out and I want to cajole myself with ease.

When I got home I took off my light raincoat that I barely needed and made my breakfast of tea and toast. A few days ago a friend told me that her doctor told her to refrain from coffee and chocolate, and without a moment’s hesitation I decided to join her. For friendship, that suffering together thing, and because what’s good for her body is probably good for mine, I decided that I was going through with it. So for a week I haven’t had coffee and just one piece of chocolate and one brownie, and I feel good about the internal change of season. Could it be that my body also needed to move from the heaviness of winter hibernation to a lighter spring diet? Could it also be that I hate how anything controls me, be it coffee or people?

Surprisingly I didn’t have much of a withdrawal headache and I don’t think that I was much grumpier than usual. It feels good to have (at least for a week) followed through on a decision that is for my physical well-being. It’s time not to let another spring come without my acknowledging that as the earth tends to itself, I, too, need to tend to myself.

On Monday when I was shoveling I watched as a bird drank water from a tiny pool of melted snow. Then it flew off to sit in a branch of the forsythia bush and watch me. A little while later the neighbors came out and the bird flew off, but as soon as they left, it was back. I could interpret that bird’s presence as happy coincidence or I could say it was my own little winged messenger from nature telling me that each animal must watch out for each other and itself. Later that day my friend told me what her doctor said.

I will be watching the orioles’ nest in the forsythia bush on the front lawn for yet another harbinger of change and newness. While I won’t be taking any direct messages from that, I will rejoice in how we are continually given the opportunity to tend to those in our care, and ourselves.

And now I’m off for another walk with Poops.


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