Challenge 4 – Spring 

We’re settling into our life in isolation, as a family there is a semblance of routine beginning to happen however there are waves of relief and then anxiety still amongst us. The Art Academy is now fully locked down too with my staff working at home; sorting and coming to terms with the mess of the last few weeks. We’re scenario planning and trying to be realistic to when we can open our doors to all our students once again. 

One thing I’m noticing is that there is a new normal in online meetings and people are getting used to the fact that there will be children in the background, and that’s ok. Today I found myself having to finish off a dance class at lunch time with our 5 year old before running out to take a call with the bank manager. I didn’t pretend it hadn’t just happened. 

Amongst all the fear and darkness around we do also find ourselves at the spring equinox. Today’s exercise is inspired by the poem “Late March” by Richard Schiffman. 

Again the trees remembered
to make leaves.
In the forest of their recollection
many birds returned
They sang, they sang
because they forgave themselves
the winter, and all that remained
still bitter.
Yet it was early spring,
when the days were touch and go,
and a late snow could nip a shoot,
or freeze a fledgling in its nest.
And where would we be then?
But that’s not the point.
Do you think the magpie doesn’t know
that its chicks are at risk,
or the peach trees, their too-frail blossoms,
the new-awakened bees, all that is
incipient within us?
We know, but we can’t help ourselves
any more than they can,
any more than the earth can
stop hurtling through the night
of its own absence.
Must be something in the sap,
the blood, a force like gravity,
a trick called memory.
You name it. Or leave it nameless
that’s better—
how something returns
and keeps on returning
through a gap,
through a dimensional gate,
through a tear in the veil.
And there it is again.
Another spring.
To woo loss into song.

EXERCISE – Draw a sign of spring, something from outside your door that gives you some hope. 

MATERIALS – Anything that makes a mark. 

Open your door or window, go into your garden, walk to your local park if you’re allowed and look for a sign of spring. It can be the tiniest bud on a branch, a spring flower blooming, tree blossom shouting at us. 
Examine these small shoots of hope. 
Try to capture as many of them onto a page. 

I went for the magnolia tree around the corner from us which has an explosion of flowers. Spend most of your time looking at the bud/ flower /blossom and only occasionally looking at the page. This exercise is about instilling some hope back into our currently battered hearts.

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