Sunday marks the Vernal Equinox, a time for remembering to walk in balance. Of course, this walking is no easy task. When we watch children learn to walk, we notice they frequently fall, landing on heads and behinds. As their legs strengthen, they practice lunging from place to place. Perhaps they move from sofa to parent’s leg, or chair to table. They always seek something to grab on to for support; sometimes they make it to their destination. When they fall, they get up and keep going, or, if they are tired, crawl away to try again later.
Walking is a delicate task, one filled with nuance. Just think about it for a moment. One must balance on one foot, then shift one’s center of gravity slightly forward. Next, one kicks out the opposite leg, rebalances, then moves one’s torso to once again be balanced over the first leg. All the while one focuses on one’s destination. This is all very complex, yet, after a while, we do it without thinking.
I usually say I learned to walk twice: initially, then again after Polio. This is not quite correct; twenty plus years ago I broke a femur and, after several weeks of being in bed, had to learn to walk yet again! This experience of learning to walk a second or third time can be quite frustrating, even embarrassing. It is difficult to lose, and be forced to relearn, basic life skills!
I imagine most of us have had the experience of starting over, of relearning something. Maybe this followed an illness or injury, the end of a job or school, or the disappearance of a treasured relationship. These moments demand much of us, and can be quite taxing. At such times, we are challenged to remember that on the Medicine Wheel that is our life, we are, as at an equinox, in a liminal state, the magical place where nothing is as it was, and where everything is possible.
We will not know what we will be till we take a step into the new. This stepping out into a changed life takes much courage. It is also the stuff of story, the transformative moment that gives our lives resonance, and creates the arc that, when we look back, will give them meaning. Sometimes it is only by looking back that we understand the vision that kept us moving forward.
As we stand on the cusp of a new season, we prepare to step into Spring, the East, and renewal. Most likely, here in Vermont, the weather will lag behind us.