The Secret To Spring - Girl of Cardigan

The Secret to Spring - Girl of Cardigan

Portland has taught me the secret to spring.

Spring in Portland is a fickle, lovely, dubious thing, here and gone again within the week, within the day, within the hour.  Sun follows rain follows hail follows thunder follows sun and rain and all again, and to love it well, we must learn to sink into the rhythm.

So we cultivate flexible spirits and grow spur-of-the-moment hearts and practice the art of leaping for joy in the sunspots, of running out the door the moment the rain stops and splashing through puddles and singing spring melodies.  We plant flowers and foods that need the wet and the shadows as much as the sunlight and through them we learn to thank the skies for breaking open and ruining our plans again and again and still and probably tomorrow.

Spring has taught me the secret to toddlers.

She is a Portland spring, all daybreak and heartbreak and sudden violent storms of wet, wanting tears, here and gone again within the week, within the day, within the hour.  Smiles follow screams follow snuggles follow anger follows new words follow new bruises and screams and snuggles and all again, and to love her well, I must learn to sink into the rhythm.

The Secret to Spring - Girl of Cardigan

So I cultivate a peaceful spirit and grow thick mama skin and practice the art of celebrating her laugh in the sunspots, of dancing wildly around the living room to stop the crying and embracing the slowness of toddling-step journeys and inhaling the top of her newly-bonked head that smells of hard-growing and peanut butter and love.  We build trust and we learn each other in the wet and the shadows as much as the sunlight, and through this we learn to thank our hearts for breaking open and ruining our plans again and again and still and probably tomorrow.

My toddler has reminded me of the secret to birth.

Because labor is a Portland spring, all becoming and promise and the steady onslaught of storms, one after the other, locked into the rhythms of breath and heart and blood.  Pain follows rest follows pain follows joy follows pain and rest and joy all again, and to survive it well, we must learn to sink into the rhythm.

So we harness our breath and take deep, stubborn sleeps in the pauses between surges and practice the art of being just here and here only, of removing fear from pain, of release and opening and the joy of love coming.  We trust and we pray and we learn to thank the pain for bringing life, thank the life for bringing joy, thank the giver of all things for the rhythm and our bodies for breaking open and changing everything again and again and still and probably tomorrow.

The Secret to Spring - Girl of Cardigan

Portland has taught me the secret to spring.

I will lean into her toddler weight on my back and her breath in my ear as we journey out between downpours, rain-booted and heart-open into a world that is always giving birth, that is always being born.

Girl of Cardigan

 

The images in this post are by my new friend Ashley, who is challenging her subjects to allow her to capture their honest, messy, flawed and lovely actual lives.  I adore the idea, and the images that came from our day with her (I’ll be sharing many more of them in weeks to come).  For more of her gorgeous work, or to get an early look at the rest of our shoot, visit www.weenoblog.com

  • Reply Kelley Friend May 7, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Just… Love.

    • Reply karyn May 7, 2014 at 12:30 pm

      And I love YOU!

  • Reply Kelly May 7, 2014 at 10:00 am

    Beautiful! What wonderful thoughts, each so true. I so miss Oregon spring– another season of excitement for our return. There’s something to be said for the fluctuations, the ebb and flow. The monotony of sun and heat is relentless here, and it makes the day far less engaging. The clouds beckon…

    • Reply karyn May 7, 2014 at 12:30 pm

      I agree, Kelly – though it has taken me a while to appreciate it, I do sort of love the drama of it all. That said, Oregon spring misses you too!! (I speak for the state, now, clearly. And the seasons.)

  • Reply Sarah May 7, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Thank you for finding the most perfect words to express this crazy toddler transition I find myself in with my daughter as well. It’s sunny right now in Portland, and my girl is sunny too, thank you Jesus. Now I have the encouragement to splash in her rain puddles with her when they come (and we know they will, any second now…). So lovely 🙂

    • Reply karyn May 7, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      Oh Sarah… it’s so good to know I’m not alone in the madness. I am sending you tons of sunny vibes like a mad woman. Survival, sister. 😉

  • Reply Monique Birt May 7, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Love this post and the reality and the reminder to appreciate every form of weather and every emotion our little ones throw at us. I’ve started getting close to toddler days with our eight month old and I’m learning how quickly I can become frustrated but why should I when she is exploring the range of all her emotions. It is a beautiful thing to watch them develop. Thanks for the reminder 🙂 I cannot wait to see the rest of the pictures!!

  • Reply Erica May 7, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    What wonderful poetry! Your words make my heart smile. Thank you.

  • Reply Amber May 8, 2014 at 10:08 am

    So lovley, friend. Needed reminders.

  • Reply teresa osborn stupak May 10, 2014 at 4:35 am

    in my third trimester and experiencing a whole range of emotions about this transition of life. thank you for the reality, hope and encouragement of your words.

  • Reply Amanda May 13, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Oh, I needed this today. Thank you.

  • Reply Janice Christman May 20, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Ahhhhh, you just make me feel so right when I read your blog! Thank you!

  • Reply Alli Dahlgren July 25, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Just came across your blog via the Imago website. Love this post! Portland has been good for my heart as well. I have a 5 and 2.5 yr old. The line “inhaling the top of her newly-bonked head that smells of hard-growing and peanut butter and love.” made me teary… I know that smell. It will be gone all too soon and replaced with something more solid and drifting…. anyway, I Will enjoy following your writing from now on.

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