Looking for signs of spring

P1050275copyA young woman stopped by Stony Brook two weeks ago with all the promise of spring. She was ebullient, wide-eyed, full of optimism and enthusiasm, her energy contagious, seemingly filling the office space with light. She chatted with me for a half hour, effortlessly, with a maturity and confidence that belied her age (approximately 24-25). Like so many others who walk through our doors, she proved to be a free spirit, independent-minded and willing to take risks, looking for challenges and adventures, open to change.

I envied her youthfulness and freedom of thought, her unrestrained exuberance. The world was wide open for her, as it should be. She told me that she had been working for a commercial company that installs solar panels for home owners and industry when it occurred to her that she “could be doing more for the world” by serving as a consultant for non-profits who want to go solar. She wanted to know who put in our solar system, whether we were happy with them, and what were their efficiencies. Currently she is working with the Ashram in Millis to do a solar install there. Soon she would be leaving for Nicaragua where she had agreed to volunteer her services for a solar installation at a school.

P1050282copyI wondered how she could afford this life-style, how she could be so willing to uproot herself and travel to places most would consider dangerous. What gave her the confidence? The inspiration? Her answers surprised and captivated me. She said, “I have amazing Karma,” that she “believes in being open to what’s in front of her,” that there are “opportunities and adventures everywhere, but most don’t see them,” or allow them into their lives.

P1050285copyShe told me about a vision she had when she was meditating outside. She saw a rainbow around the sun that led her to believe “she should be doing something with solar,” that she “could save the world” in this way. She wanted to inspire others to dream, to do, to be, and possibly write a book about her journey, though she wasn’t confident in her writing skills. I encouraged her to start with a journal and/or a blog, suggestions which she met with great excitement, saying, “I can’t believe this. I’ve been thinking about doing a blog! This is perfect, just the incentive I need.”

P1050281copyI gave her Doug’s information (Stony Brook’s Director) and told her that he could answer any questions she had about the companies we worked with for the solar panels on our roof. I gave her the URL for my blog so that she could get a sense of what she might do, and then I offered to give her a blank journal she could use to record her thoughts while on these adventures. If and when she came back to Stony Brook, I told her, I wanted to interview her, to get more of her story. She promised to stop by within the week.

P1050286seedlingscopyI smiled when she left, knowing perhaps that she wouldn’t come back, enjoying the fact that there are still people like her who have big dreams and are willing to take risks, who eschew the well-traveled path and are not willing to settle for a life that is not lived fully. And then it occurred to me that she was a perfect trope for spring which comes suddenly and unexpectedly, reminding us of past glories and expectations, filling us with hope, and then quickly leaving as it yields to summer sun and the reality of the fall. Spring is tempestuous and unpredictable, exciting and full of possibility, pulling us out of the dead of winter and fulfilling the promise of rebirth.

Though sunny and warm one day, and followed by a hard rain the next, spring will always thrill and delight and then disappoint us. April is, indeed, the cruelest month, but given a choice I would not have it any other way.

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