Blooming where we are planted

In spite of catastrophes and crises, our beautiful island is in full-out spring. Blossoming, which began in February with Hellebores, and crocuses, followed by daffodils and rows of ornamental plum trees, is rolling through peak rhododendron season, and here come the tulips! Lifting our gaze from the television or other devices of dire news, our eyes fill with color, and we dip toward one flower and another like bees nosing for scent. Surely amidst all this generosity of Nature, we can rest in beauty for a few moments.

For myself, Nature is my greatest solace, and as life in the world of human concerns wobbles and shakes, I practice slowing down to really let Nature nourish me. I need nourishing. I need to drink green thoughts, to sip respite through a straw of flower stem, to roll in clover with my puppy for the silliness of it, and to savor the gifts of sunrise/sunset and another day—rain or shine. I bring bouquets into the house. I hug a tree—it’s not contagious.

So many issues in the wider world continue to concern us and disrupt our routines: the environment, politics, economics, and pandemics. Over the winter months and into spring, we have been made aware of our vulnerabilities and interconnectivity on multiple levels. And some of our routines needed interrupting, shifting, realignment, or letting go. The world is not as it was: the world is as it is. We are in the “Roaring 20’s” in a new century and much of what the 1920’s set in motion in society, we in the 2020s are now facing in terms of consequences. These consequences are unavoidable: they are corrections of course that demand redress.

When threatened by contagion, as we are right now in response to Covid-19, it’s easy to pull back and away from one another. We wash our hands more diligently. We replace hugs and kisses with friendly gazes and smiles at what we hope is a socially safe distance; we keep our hands off doorknobs and handrails, and wipe down public spots, but we still need to stay in community, to stay resilient. This is a moment to do whatever we can in our individual circles to be sure we know where and how everyone is. My texting outreach is going up: maybe I can’t help directly, but I can let someone in self-quarantine know I am checking on them, can put food on the doorstep or play “words with friends” on our phones. I can reach out to a niece in Milan, to a brother with compromised lung function, to neighbors I haven’t seen in a while. Just send love—it’s the right kind of contagious!

There is no escape from these times: we must bloom where we are planted and take charge of the quality of our lives by keeping our hearts open to beauty and to one another.



13 replies
  1. Bonnie Rae
    Bonnie Rae says:

    In so many ways I feel we are safer and more protected and connected than ever. We are living through an amazing time in our history for sure. Looking forward to sharing your company, your wisdom and your spirit in May ♡

  2. Pat Norton
    Pat Norton says:

    Dear Ann and Christina, it’s been 15 years since you started working with the Wheaton Franciscans. Every time we gather we continue to use circle process and appreciate the wisdom of this way. There are now only 40+ vowed members and we recently decided to take a big leap into how we will serve one another going forward – how we will do what we can for one another while staying faithful to the center. We are now calling our communal decision making “the circle of the whole”. In the next few months we will be talking about how we will self-govern as we come to more closely share our lives with one another. You were so present to me as we came to this decision and wanted to thank you again for your wisdom and insight as you guided us. Sending you love. Pat Norton

    • Christina Baldwin
      Christina Baldwin says:

      So good to know of your evolution! There’s an ongoing story here that I hope you will share with The Circle Way. Blessings, and love to you each and all! Christina and Ann

  3. Jeanie Robinson
    Jeanie Robinson says:

    Sending a circle of love from our forest in Bothell. I was just feeling grateful this morning that our trees take our pollution as well as the carbon dioxide we breathe out. They filter it and return it as oxygen. Humble bows of gratitude to you, our rooted companions.

  4. Diana Smith
    Diana Smith says:

    So wise … thanks for reinforcing what seems so vital – now more than ever – to be together in community (ies)… with love❤️Diana Smith

  5. Wallace Cason
    Wallace Cason says:

    This is one of your most endearing qualities — love for nature at least as deeply as Thoreau and Whitman and Basho — and you’ve been that way all your life. It becomes you, dear.

  6. Jeanne Petrick
    Jeanne Petrick says:

    Amen to each and every thought that you touched on! So well said and with much heart – always reminding to lead with one’s heart. Thanks, Christina for your gentle reminders as with your words I have adjusted my day to take time for a walk at the lake to commune with the water, waves, clouds and always the trees. xoxo

  7. Diane Tilstra
    Diane Tilstra says:

    I found solace in these words as I sit quietly healing a cold right now and just watching what is happening in the world. I see neighbors reaching out to provide comfort and care. It is a beautiful contagion. Thank you for this story.

  8. Kellie Mendenhall
    Kellie Mendenhall says:

    During prayer last night, I developed an idea. I will be posting this, “I have decide to STOP READING NEGATIVE POSTS. Instead I will be checking on friends and family so….how are you doing today?” Sounds like your advice!


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