Even though it happens pretty much the same way every year, the speed at which the world greens up in spring always takes me by surprise again. Last week buds and mud, this week leaves blasting out so fast the trees almost groan with the effort. The rhododendron by my door is in full bloom. Yesterday it was only halfway there, the day before–closed buds.
It reminds me of a haiku I wrote a few years ago now:
First day–dime-sized leaves.
Second day–quarter-sized leaves.
Third day–full-blown leaves.
It wasn’t written about spring—not directly anyway. But I wrote it after a three-day silent meditation retreat, or sesshin, as it’s called in the zen tradition. It takes time for the mind to settle down. But after a few days of nothing, a few days of banishing concerns as they arise, just breathing and sitting and walking in silence, something begins to unfurl. The fidgeters become still, the diaphragms of the coughers loosen up, the compulsively sociable become comfortable in their own company. They call it “sesshin mind” and it blossoms out around the third day.
Which may explain why people (why I) am so stressed and tired out by the working life. Two days away from work only gets you partway there. Weekends are never so short as they are this time of year. Cooped up so long over the winter, nose to grindstone, cranking it out–when spring comes you want to bust out like cows do on the first day of open pasture feeding. You want to dance; you want to do everything. No weekend can contain all that pent-up demand.
But three days? I could, how you say, work with that. Full-blown weekend.
First day—frolic some.
Second day—rest, rest, rest, rest.
Third day—be at peace.
We Americans may be famously workaholic, but it wouldn’t hurt to occasionally take Herman Yenwo’s advice to body builders, “If your neck gets bigger than your head, then you need to take a day off from the gym.” Just sayin’.