I watched a robin explore one of our crab apple trees yesterday afternoon. He hopped from bare branch to bare branch, stopping now and then to poke at old, dried-up crabapples with his beak. At one point he seemed to look right at me, as if he were making sure I noticed his presence. I wasn’t sure how to respond.
Robins usually don’t come back to this area of Minnesota until at least the end of March, though last year we saw one on February 18th, the same day the seasonal ‘spring melt’ stream ran — unseasonably early. Yesterday was February 16th, so it seems this trend of early melting will continue for another season. The snow is almost gone after a few days of 40 degrees, and today it’s 50. Tomorrow it is projected to be 55, and Sunday, 57. Winter as I remember it just doesn’t seem to happen anymore, and this early warmth doesn’t feel normal.
I started a new job this week – it’s been a lot of meetings and figuring out passwords and learning new technology and exploring websites. The job itself is familiar – the basic practice of coaching people into a healthier way of being doesn’t change even when the organization you work for does. When boiled down, coaching is an opportunity to help people see all the options they have in their own lives, and it’s an opportunity to help them cultivate the behaviors that will result in living true to what they value. The structure at this new place is different than the corporate environment that defined my days for almost a decade. There’s more room for flexibility, creativity, and making use of the writing skills I have developed over the years. If I’m being honest, I’d ideally spend the bulk of my days writing books, planning the garden, or hiking with Eva. But since there are still bills to pay and my skill set aligns with using writing to communicate with clients, this job is one of the better options that has crossed my path. But it’s new. It doesn’t feel normal.
The climate isn’t what it used to be – this isn’t a new, of course. The climate has always shifted. But right now it’s shifting faster than anyone thought it would, and it’s shifting for different reasons than it has in the past. Most of what happens with the temperature outside (to grossly oversimplify) is outside of our control, even though human activity has played a large role in getting us where we are. But we are where we are, and it can be hard to know how to respond. We have to figure out how to deal with the reality we are in.
As I move into making this new coaching job a part of my life, I’m not sure how to respond. Part of me is relieved at finding another telecommuting opportunity. Part of me is lamenting the fact that I have a schedule to adhere to again, even if it is fairly flexible. And part of me is ready to simply take things one day at a time and figure out how to deal with the reality that I’m in.
And as February progresses and another winter seems to fade before it really even began, I’m not sure how to respond. Part of me is relieved to have sun warming my face as I stand on the south facing hills in the afternoon. Part of me is lamenting the fact that skiing is probably over for the year, and another warm winter means that climate change is starting to have a real impact on my day to day life. And part of me is ready to simply take things one day at a time and figure out how to deal with the reality that I’m in.