Love Songs to the Ladies: the Spring Mother
She begins because beginnings are what she does. And because they need her. They are fragile things, soft, easily collapsed; small floppy things still finding their way. She loves them with a mother’s love. With the love of the Nurturer for the weak, the as-yet unable, the possibly damaged, the probably doomed. She wraps around the impossibility of survival, she warms the cold that lingers in the limbs of what has just pulled its way out of the winter earth, the rejecting womb, the darkness we call death. She murmurs little lies, temporary truths, the necessary comforting sounds that give new things the courage to even attempt to grow.
She begins because she knows the rhythms of it. Of beginning. The moment when tender there-theres must turn, find sternness, gather into implacability. Like all of them she is merciless. Not unkind, but unmovable. There is growth and there is death. You are in one world or the other. You expand, or you relax and dissolve. When you meet her it is the time of expansion. She will not permit you not to rise.
She gifts you the secrets of beginning. The mystery of it. Like all mysteries, it is not about wisdom withheld, but wisdom without words. One of the many things you learn about only by walking through. She holds your hand. She walks beside you. And sometimes ahead of you, calling you forward. And sometimes behind you, to bar your way back. She walks with you into the wisdom of initiation. The opening to possibility. The strange strength of utter and groundless vulnerability. From her you learn to be naked. You learn about the disarming armor of nowhere left to hide. You are born helplessly into this unprotected place, and she will try to teach you never to put on clothes. Never to leave the garden. She will promise you that your blood is your power. That those who spill it will damage themselves more than they will you. She will plead with you never never to try to mend your heart. To stay broken and open and naked and groundless forever.
She’ll fail, of course. You’ll defy her. Your fear will drive you to it. Your fear and the fear of others who see, in your nakedness, no more excuse for clinging to their own precious armor. At first she will be all wisdom and warmth, she will fill your horizon and you will trust her completely. But quickly, quickly you will find her naïve. Believe you know better. Move beyond her. And the idea of moving beyond her is so laughable that you will never get the joke. But you will believe that’s what you’ve done. And you’ll dress yourself in all the fashions of the day. You’ll let the others tell you how to think and feel, what to want, what to hate. You’ll pat that ground into place beneath your feet as quickly as you can, and you’ll plant yourself there and hold on tight to wind and water. And you are absolutely as ridiculous as that. But you are also beautiful, and brave, and foolish and shining in your newness, your illusions. You are every baby thing that falls recklessly into life because you know nothing of what life will ask of you. And she will watch all of this and smile.
It was never her job to keep you safe, you know. Only to teach you that the beautiful world is not safe. That hurt and harm are not the same, and that the only thing that will truly harm you is clinging to the belief that safety is possible – that you can or should be protected from pain. This is her wisdom, and she gives it to you knowing you will throw her gift away. Knowing you will find the illusion of safety more seductive than her truth for a long, long time. Maybe, if you’re unlucky, for your entire life. Maybe you won’t live long enough to lose control. To have the ground fall out from under your feet. To have your heart broken and your dreams denied and your memories tainted. Maybe you’ll die before you can become unhappy. Before the seeds she planted will grow in the hard necessity of your breaking. And that sounds like it would be a blessing, doesn’t it? But it’s not. That would be the very worst thing that could happen to you.
Because you will know you have lived when you are scarred and shining.
A new chapter is beginning. Work up a sweat. Play hard. Get dirty. Give up on “safe” because “scary” and “sad” are just part of the package. Feel all the colors. Run fast. Fall and skin your knees. Be worth her labor – the struggle of the seed to crack open and grow.
She Begins. Begin again. Welcome Spring.
This post was written by Laurie Dietrich