Indulging Our Chlorophyll Reveries

alive hope spring Apr 06, 2023

No matter if it’s frosty, saturated, or tempestuous, spring is loyal to its passions. The living world burgeons with promises it can’t keep, but so what? I stumble in, awed and wide-eyed. It is a religious experience, the way the low tones of winter are overtaken by returning bird kingdoms and frog cities. 


How is spring awakening in your body? Not just as a mental concept, but what do the fine hairs of your skin know, the labyrinths of your ears know, your bubbling underground waterways know? What memories or smells buried within your dinosaur brain want to rise to the surface? What have your people known about this time of year? What stories, songs, or secret yearnings lived in their bodies that now live in yours? 


Having crossed the soundless threshold of the Equinox, every day deepens us further into Liver energy/ the Wood element/ the Spring season, and our bodies don’t need to be experts in any theoretical ideas about the Five Elements because they already know spring. We know its innovative shades of green and the optimistic potential it brings in every blooming flower. We feel this in our flesh: a desire to move, to shake off the accumulated heaviness of winter, and to let a brave hope penetrate the spaces between our ribs.


Hope. Every year around this same time, I find this word on my tongue, rattling around my chest, under my pillow at night. I wish to feel into the animacy of Hope, not through cheery, overly simplistic assumptions but Hope in its most honest, undomesticated back country. In these strange days, I find Hope to be increasingly jaded, not an antidote to despair or fatigue, but a sprite with unruly wings and an ever-burgeoning sense of both volatility and possibility.


Author Robert Macfarlane says that “our bodies are pieces of wild earth that never leave us.” I take his words to heart in the latest episode of the Woman Who Rubs the Mountain, where I explore the themes of Liver energy and the Wood Element. The old knowings of the Five Elements act as a portal of relatedness, allowing us to see our internal ecosystems within the external ecosystems and vice versa. Take a listen if you are feeling like you want to further understand the energies of this time of year and the intersections between your inner and outer elemental terrains.

These explorations blend Wood element mysteries, observations of local vegetative expressions of spring, and an honoring of our fleshy wilds.

Some of the themes we contemplate are:

  • the bright awakening of our senses. Suddenly our noses and ears work again after the endless low tones of winter.
  • the essential push-pull nature of spring which shows up in the weather but also in the tension between hope and hopelessness, or knowing when to rest and when to risk ourselves.
  • the exuberance of spring as it tries to convince us of a requisite industriousness, but when we move like a sprout, entering the archaic wholeness of life, growth occurs with less efforting, less squeeze, more shiver.
  • the simultaneously longing for the growth, freedom, clear vision, and healthy initiation of spring while also feeling the pressure and fatigue of needing to accomplish another personal re-birth.
  • how our bodies already know bark, sprout, bud, chlorophyll longings and wise rootlings. Bark seems so hard, so permanent, but it is growing, malleable, porous, kind of like our own bones. Both our bones and bark hold scars and memories of a life lived. 

None of these explorations are done in a vacuum by us as single individuals but instead we are enmeshed within a wider community of support. So instead of trying to go it alone, we reach out for help, initiating conversation with the wisest teachers of the Wood element: the Tree families where we live.



And if you have not listened already, I had great fun catching up with one of my favorite authors, Vanessa Chakour. In her book, Awakening Artemis, Vanessa skillfully tells her personal story through a healing mandala of herbalism, plant lore, and eco-warriorship. In our conversation, Vanessa further explains her draw to Artemis and all things misunderstood in nature, particularly weeds and wolves. 


Some of my most favorite spring practices are starting seeds by the windowsill, growing scallion roots in a jar, or salad-green sprouting. For home sprouting, all you need is a mason jar, a screened lid (which makes it easier but is not essential), and a packet of seeds. At a time of year when we might start to crave lighter, more raw foods, sprouts are something fresh and bright for our bodies. Even just watching the nature of how sprouts emerge, grow, and express their tremendous potential energy is such a learning about spring. Their imagery and presence alone heal us. 


With love and lively bird song, 


(Excerpt of the March 2023 newsletter). If you would like to receive my monthly love letters, click here.