It’s windy today. I’m glad, though my feelings on wind are not simple.
We’re entering that transition time again. Good riddance, many will say, to the zipping, nippy, unfriendly, shovel-y winter! But we don’t get spring without paying some penance first. We have to weather that transition from winter to spring, and though I think we might gloss over it in our memories from year to year (especially because it doesn’t have a set seasonal name, but rather wedges between two), it can really ruffle your hair. (Literally and figuratively. I’ll try not to make this a post of puns! Eek.) Common trademarks of transitions: they’re exciting, challenging, nerve-wracking. Some transitions are remarkable and unique: moving one job to another, getting into new relationships, moving to a new place, changing careers entirely, shedding old habits. These are understandably nerve-wracking. (And understandably exciting.) But it’s possible even to become nerve-wracked over transitions that come around frequently, even, say, yearly, like the changing of the seasons. Do you remember that clever video about the wind as a man in a hat, who walks around annoying people? It’s a German video for wind energy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mTLO2F_ERY I identify with that anger at the wind, but also want to give that man who plays the wind a hug. While I have a love-hate relationship with wind, I respect its heralding of the transition of winter into spring. We can’t just go from cold, icy, and gray to warm, soft, and sunny without some kind of appreciative ceremonial salute to what’s past and tantalizingly slow approach to the coveted “what’s to come.”
I think there should be a name for the in-betweens of seasons, more than just a name we can cobble together whenever the need presents itself, more than just “transition season” or “winter into spring.” Things that have names wind up (see the wind pun! I didn’t even mean that one, ahhh…) staying in our mind better. Periods of time will pass in which I forget about those yoga poses that don’t have roundly agreed-upon names. Jorge Luis Borges, an Argentinian poet and general man of letters, wrote about how it’s arbitrary, what we name and what we don’t. He suggested that perhaps there should be a name for the way that the sunlight hits a field, when a cow bell is ringing in the distance. (It might have been a church bell. Some kind of bell.) But there isn’t a name for that. At least not in any of the seven or so languages that Borges spoke, so I’m taking his word for it.
While I can’t think of a reasonable one today, I think there should be a name for the transitions between periods, between jobs, between relationships, between seasons, because so much of life happens in them. They are times that require the most bravery, the most self-knowledge, times that create our character, times that fill a big percentage of our lives. But our memory can be crowded by things that have names. “Last Christmas.” “When I was dating [so-and-so.]” “In college.” “When I worked for [that company.]” What about “last blustery March?” “When I wasn’t dating anyone?” “When I job searched and walked everywhere?” “When I didn’t have any idea what I should do with my life and slept until 11am every day?” Those things are harder to name, but they mean something. And transition times exist even more elusive than this, ones that elude even my ability to capture them in general phrases here.
The uncertainty of transition brings a richness, a stash of dormant potential, raw matter to be formed, infinite possibilities, infinite lessons and little side secrets. For a while, when I think of it, I would like to look at and live the in-betweens, the transitions, more closely than I do the obvious moments, the chapter headings. Yoga gives us an opening for this. Every time you come to your mat, you are somewhere. You are in a full, present, real, sensational moment of your life. You can’t always name what part you’re in. But you’re in it. And as you explore your breath and your mind and your body in the poses that are so familiar to you, you discover what has changed about the you that is arriving, this time, at the same familiar poses. You discover where you are now. Even if where you are now is on the way to somewhere else, and even if you arrive to that somewhere else and are still not able name what it is, it deserves attention. Call it the Windy Time. Call it March.