“Then there are those rare days … that dawn with a clarity that muscles its way into every home and studio and office, lending a crispness and cogency to almost every thought. … There’s a delicious radiance that seems to come from the things themselves, from even the tables and the plush rug, and when we step outside we can taste it in the air and in the way a few fluffed clouds rest, almost motionless, in the crystal lens of the sky. How far our vision travels on such days!” – David Abram
We experienced our first spring-like day this weekend — birds singing, sun shining, daffodils in full bloom, windows open. Ahhh.
All day I was bursting with ideas and creativity. For most of us, our employers, clients, or the accumulating bills insist that we keep making our to-do lists and checking off items right on through the darkest, coldest months. In many of my former workplaces, summer and winter were interchangeable. Not once did a manager suggest we adjust our work to be more in sync with our natural seasonal inclinations.
But these first spring days have a way of showing us how stubbornly linked our minds and moods remain with the seasons.
One of my friends manages an organic farm, and not surprisingly his life is more in sync with nature than most of ours. In the winter he rests or travels. Then in the early spring he starts working, gradually increasing his hours with the longer days.
But you don’t have to trade your computer for a hoe to get more in tune with nature. One independent author realized that winter was an excellent time to stay inside writing, whereas spring was the ideal time for book releases, so that’s how he arranges his life now. Some companies have started giving employees extra time off during the summer, since that’s when people want to be outside and with family. My dad, a freelance writer, took nearly every afternoon off in September for fall hikes.
I’m fortunate to have some flexibility in my working life, so I try to pay attention to nature’s cycles and adjust my life and work accordingly. But it’s not easy, because our modern lifestyle — climate controlled houses and vehicles, cities lit up around the clock, ripe tomatoes available year round — are so adept at inoculating us from nature’s whims. Planting a garden helps, since I have to pay attention to and cooperate with nature from spring to early fall.
But every spring I realize how hard I’ve pushed myself to keep running, biking, producing and working at full capacity right through the winter elements. I suspect winter colds and influenza may be nature’s way of saying, “Enough. Rest already,” since many of us are bad at heeding the weather’s hints.
It’s noteworthy that until relatively recently, many cultures observed the new year in March. These early spring days, with their “delicious radiance” do seem a perfect time for making resolutions, for birthing books into the world, and perhaps for opening new businesses and starting ventures. What might the rest of our work lives look like if could take our natural seasonal inclinations into account?
Do you adjust your work with the seasons? Could you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.