This morning I was rushing to meet our accountant – yes, on a Sunday, and yes, perilously close to April 15 – when I walked headlong into a tree branch. My face is nothing to write home about, but it is the only one I have, so my first thought concerned whether it was bleeding. It was not. My next thought was more interesting:
There are buds on that tree branch.
The reality that it is actually spring swept over me. It changed my mood, and it gave me pause. I have been rushing headlong through life lately. I have seen the weather as a variable barrier to productivity. The outdoors has been the place I walk or drive (mostly drive) between meetings. This is a problem, and the solution just smacked me in the face. We are taught to seize the day – Carpe diem! – And lately that has meant starting work earlier, and hitting it harder. This week I will also try to savor the days a bit more.
The lucky among us will experience 100 springtimes. If we subtract the early years when we are too young to notice and the adolescent years when we are too cool to care, and adjust according to the actuarial tables, we see how precious each spring really is. I will seize some moments to notice and enjoy buds becoming leaves, sunsets deepening, and ducks dabbling about in puddles before the lake ice finally recedes. I will pause to feel grateful.
Some years ago, I was working on a consulting project in San Diego, and things were falling apart. I called my boss at the end of a long day, and began to prepare him for the bad news. He interrupted me. “You are in San Diego in January. It is one of the most beautiful places on the continent. Go for a run by the ocean, take a long shower, have a good dinner, and then, if you still want to, you can call me back and tell me how bad it is.”
I followed orders. After a couple of miles, it wasn’t quite so bad. I saw some new possibilities, and I began to accept that not every project progresses according to plan. I emailed instead of calling, and spent a few more days on the project. We rallied to some degree, I got outside every evening, and I returned to Minnesota a happier and more productive person despite the business challenges.
Sometimes a tree branch smacks us upside the head, and sometimes it takes a mentor.
Let us take a few moments to enjoy the springtime, to renew ourselves, and to return to our work refreshed and grateful for all that is happening around us.