It appears spring has indeed arrived in my area, bringing warmer temperatures, more daylight, and blooms on plants and trees. While running, biking, and walking the dogs, I find new colors in the blooming flowers and trees each day. The tiny buds of last week are now open flowers, dotting the landscape with hints of life and inspiration. Dormant grass in the fields has come to life in a blanket that grows greener each day.
I also noticed the spring peepers and wild turkeys calling early in the morning and late at night. The symphony of sound echoing through the valley brings a tranquil aura to the evening hours, reminding me to be thankful for the day and the blessings the season brings.
True to tradition, April has brought with it rain showers at many different times of the day. Though the gray clouds that hold the rain appear a bit dreary, the emerging flowers being watered by the rain kind of offset the drab skies. The cooler, rainy days present running and biking challenges, but the warmer days with quick showers are less daunting.
The water from the rain helps the plants and trees, so I try to remind myself to be thankful for this blessing that takes time to see its benefit. The rain also cleans the air, creating a fresh smell all around.
The smell of rain is actually due to the interaction of the rain with soil, and not the rain itself. The smell is known as petrichor, which is from the Greek petra, which means stone, and ichor, which refers to the fluid that flows in the veins of the Gods. The raindrops trap pockets of air when hitting porous surfaces. The pockets, also known as bubbles, move toward the raindrop surface, and when they break through, aerosols are emitted. The aerosols are believed to carry the rain smell.
While walking the dogs around the yard, I found the following wild and domesticated flowers with blooms:
Grape hyacinth, also known as muscari armeniacum, distinguished by tiny grape-shaped buds, the ability to grow in various conditions, and resistance to deer and other wild animals.
- Myrtle, also known as vinca or periwinkle, which is a green-leafed ground cover with purple or bluish flowers that grows in a variety of soils and light conditions.
- Dandelion, often considered as a weed, but really categorized as a flowering plant of the Asteraceae Dandelion is from the French “dent de lion” meaning lion’s tooth, and referring to the toothy leaves of the plant.
- Phlox, also known as moss pink, distinguished by very early spring blooms, and ability to cover hillsides with blankets of purple, pink, white, and blue flowers.
While biking, I noticed the leaves and flowers coming out on the sugar maple, red maple, flowering pear, crab apple, buckeye, and willow trees. Though tiny when viewed individually, the many dots viewed as a whole make a noticeable difference in the landscape.
Full Moon Coming Soon
Above all the emerging buds and blooms, the moon is making its way to its full phase. April’s full moon has several names, the most known one being the full pink moon, named after herb moss pink, also known as wild ground phlox. The native tribes called the moon this name because it coincided with the blooming season for the moss pink.
Some tribes called the full moon of April the sprouting grass moon because the occurrence coincided with grass emerging from its dormant state. Other tribes called the full moon the egg moon or the fish moon.
The tribes often used the full moon to tell time and keep track of events. They used nature as their guide through life, being careful to observe, contemplate, and reflect upon what they saw. I think this way of life offers a great example of how to see the many blessings granted to us each day. If we focus on what we have instead of what we do not have, we tend to be more thankful and more positive.
Recently, I read the following quote and thought it summed up the benefits of being thankful quite well:
“It is not the man that has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.” – Seneca
The full moon will occur on April 11 this year, which is the Tuesday of Holy Week during Lent. The events of Holy Week include:
- Palm Sunday, when Jesus returned to Jerusalem
- Holy Thursday, when the Last Supper was held
- Good Friday, when Jesus died on the cross
- Holy Saturday, when the people mourned Jesus’ death
Though the week itself is often viewed as a time of somber reflection, recalling the events leading to Jesus’ death allow one to see the depth, power, and light of Easter, when Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus had to endure much pain before finding his glory, and many of his followers struggled to understand the events that transpired before and after his death.
Though we most likely will not be nailed to a cross like Jesus, we also have times in life where we must endure pain, hardship, and suffering to different degrees. As we struggle through such times, we may find it helpful to consider the following quote:
“The struggle you are in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow.” – Robert Tew
Even in our struggles, we can find blessings if we open our minds, hearts, eyes, and ears. It may take time to understand, feel, see, and hear the message and benefit of our struggle, but in the end we will benefit in some way.
Phases and Stages of Life
Just as the moon goes through its phases, we also go through phases of life. There are times when we are empty or starting over, like the new moon. Other times, we are midway between one stage and the next, like the half moon. Still other times, we feel satisfied with our surroundings and circumstances, like the full moon.
Like the moon, each day changes the status of our journey and state of being. We may not recognize the smaller changes that slowly take place in the times between our major stages or phases. In these times, we may be likened to the waxing and waning moons, often viewed as crescent moons. We are not empty, half full, or full, but rather moving along to our next phase.
Whether we recognize it or not, we are always learning and changing as students of life. Perhaps the following quote says it best:
“Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.” – Og Mandino
May the many changes we encounter through our different phases of life lead us to where we need to be. May the challenges and struggles met along the way help us to build strength for the journey, and may we be thankful for the blooms of blessings found along the way.
Blooms of Blessings
Moon in the sky at midday
Moving on to its next phase
While watching over earth below
Where the wild flowers continue to grow
Brightening the landscape in yellow, purple, and blue,
Pink, white, shades of red, and maroon,
All coming together to form
Blooms of blessings to weather life’s storms.
Blue in the sky between the clouds
On the way through the minutes as the world spins around
Growing and changing along the way
Constantly rearranging the path one takes
Weaving through dimensions of life
Exploring, reinventing, and holding on inside
Past what is and through what was before
Sent in blooms of blessings moving on once more.
Dew below the sky at daybreak
Creating a sparkling view in the landscape
Caught between the petals of the flowers
After being washed clean by the rain showers
Allowing the air to clear and sun to rise
On yet another day held dear in this life
Made special by the little things one explores
To find blooms of blessings from the Lord.
-Lisa A. Wisniewski
Resources and Related Links
Full pink moon – http://www.almanac.com/content/full-moon-april
Holy Week – http://www.catholic.org/lent/holyweek.php
Moon phases – http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/moon_phases.php
Smell of rain – http://www.livescience.com/49520-smell-of-rain-aerosols.html