After months of dreary grey, isn’t it lovely to see the sun shining in a vivid blue sky? There are crocuses and irises popping up everywhere, and look, there’s the Northern Cardinal that hung around the bird feeder all winter. Take a deep breath, just feel the fresh air bathe our lungs with oxygen. It’s great to be alive, isn’t it!
Especially as I reflect on the challenges of winter, 2023: global war topping the list; unprecedented weather phenomenon’s called ‘atmospheric rivers; and the many personal health challenges of family and friends. More reason to welcome spring and walk the familiar streets laundered clean by the early morning rain, feeling renewed and revitalized. Indeed, it’s great to be alive.
But let me ask you, what does it really mean, ‘to be alive? ‘
Fundamentally, to be “alive” simply means to be animate; to be breathing, existent, having a heartbeat and functional organs; that is to say, not dead… but possessing the capacity to have feelings; what we describe as a sentient being, one with awareness and cognitive ability, able to experience sensations and emotions.
But surely there is more to life than simply sustaining it. Yes, there are the biological essentials for being alive, food and shelter and survival, but what of creativity, contribution to community, the iridescent light of beauty in its many forms, the anguish and ecstasy of this thing called love… all brought to glorious embrace as we walk around the block surrounded by the miracle of spring emerging from winter.
Next time we walk we’ll wake up early and see the sun rise, or wait for the end of day and turn to the west for sunset. The scarlets and shifting orange hues enrich our lives beyond the Monet Grainstacks at Giverny because they reach past the eye and recognize a feeling or sense of belief that there is something behind the canvas that is greater than what we are seeing; something cosmic or divine in nature.
There is a wonderful quote from Pablo Casals who plays two preludes and fugues of Bach each morning because…”It is a rediscovery of the world of which I have the joy of being a part. It fills me with awareness of the wonder of life, with a feeling of the incredible marvel of being a human being.”
It’s still light out. Shall we walk another block together in our shared humanity?
With Love and Light
Arlene Englander, LCSW