Spring in the Garage

I live in a deeply urban area; the buildings are several stories tall, parking is hard to find and often underground, and I have to drive to find a green space that I can’t see across. But as I was going to my car in the underground garage, the house sparrows that live there were singing up a storm, and the sound spoke of the onset of spring.

This wasn’t just a reminder that nature is “out there” somewhere in a pristine wildness independent of the urban density. This is my nature; this is my world, my bit of earth, my ecosystem. When I ground and center, tendrils of my roots twine around the rails of the Metro; I notice changes in the seasons in terms of the shops and businesses on my daily walks as well as in the plants and animals. I know the people at nearest stores, and waving a greeting to them gives me a sense of home just as checking in with the nearest trees does.

My home area is a wonderful example of the way that “nature” and “human areas” are not mutually exclusive; they are everywhere interpenetrating, coexisting and adapting, competing, cooperating, and thriving.

One of my friends was writing recently about how some people see anything that they don’t control as “weeds” or “vermin,” that is, things that need to be eliminated. I know some people think that way, but I simply can’t wrap my mind around it; it’s impossible for us to “control” our environments completely, even in the most monitored and managed areas. The house sparrows are a reminder of that, too – they love to live in conjunction with humans.

It’s true that most of the plants around here are cultivated, landscaped or manicured, but that doesn’t mean they’re controlled. They have their own lessons to teach me as spring starts to break out all over.

The plants around here are living within limitations; they grow and bloom, but they’re trimmed, too, shaped and directed in ways that they don’t get to choose. Even within those limits, though, they don’t just survive: they thrive. They live, fully and extravagantly, and even when they come up against those limits, they don’t let it stop them. They adapt, they cope, they manage, they deal. And frequently, they surprise us with the creative ways they do so; spring’s resurgence of vitality simply can’t be contained completely.

This is something I need to be reminded of, because I’ve been coming up against hard limits rather frequently lately. I need to know that it’s possible to be verdant and vital even while constrained.

The sparrows and the plants show me, over and over again, that life can find a way, and life will find a way.

So mote it be.

 

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About Literata

Literata is a Wiccan priestess and writer. She edited Crossing the River: An Anthology in Honor of Sacred Journeys, and her poetry, rituals, and nonfiction have appeared in works such as Mandragora, Unto Herself, and Anointed as well as multiple periodicals. Literata has presented rituals and workshops at Sacred Space conference, Fertile Ground Gathering, and other mid-Atlantic venues. Literata offers healing and divination services as well as customized life-cycle rituals. She is currently completing her doctoral dissertation in history with the support of her husband and four cats.
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3 Responses to Spring in the Garage

  1. Hi Literata,
    A Christian Q&A site at which I occasionally post is preparing to launch a blog, and the topic of the first post is going to be contraception. I haven’t seen the draft articles, but I did see some of the discussion around it and expressed some concern (for a start they don’t yet have any female contributers, so why the decided to start with contraception is completely beyond me).

    Anyway, in the chat, I mentioned some of your articles. (You can click the little arrow at the beginning of my comment to navigate backwards through the chat.) I hope you’re okay with that.

    TRiG.

    • Literata says:

      I’m honored! Thank you very much; I am always glad to try to be part of productive conversations about important issues like this.

      I tried to reply to your comment there, but there’s reputation requirements and such that are a bit more than I can find my way through tonight. Please feel free to pass on my email to the blog owners/coordinators if they’d be interested in having me contribute (as a non-Christian, obviously).

  2. Yeah, you need to have amassed a certain amount of reputation on the main site before you can post in chat. This is fairly easy if you’re interested in the subject matter, but it does take time. (Actually, getting reputation on any site in the network would do it.)

    A few of the other sites have blogs. My favourite, English Language and Usage has a community blog, but this is the first time I’ve seen one being set up.

    TRiG.

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