Jailbreak Into the Blossoming of Spring

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 5:00 am

Jailbreak Into the Blossoming of Spring

It’s been a long winter in Madison, Wisconsin. But at last, spring has sprung. All week, I’ve been able to take long walks without wearing my Nanook of the North gear or looking over my shoulder for marauding packs of wolverines!

Here’s one of the best spring poems I know, encouraging us to break out of all “the dark winter prisons” of our lives. “Stop holding back the blossoming!” says Maya Spector.

In times past, when I felt imprisoned by something, I simply assumed that the door was locked. Now when I feel trapped, I give the door a push — it’s amazing how often it flies open!

To quote Spector again,

“Why make a cell your home
when the door is unlocked
and the garden is waiting for you?”

Whatever may feel like it has you locked in, it’s spring! Get out into that garden and start planting the seeds of new life!

by Maya Spector

It’s time to break out —
Jailbreak time.
Time to punch our way out of
the dark winter prison.
Lilacs are doing it
in sudden explosions of soft purple,
And the jasmine vines, and ranunculus, too.
There is no jailer powerful enough
to hold Spring contained.
Let that be a lesson.
Stop holding back the blossoming!
Quit shutting eyes and gritting teeth,
curling fingers into fists, hunching shoulders.
Lose your determination to remain unchanged.
All the forces of nature
want you to open,
Their gentle nudge carries behind it
the force of a flash flood.
Why make a cell your home
when the door is unlocked
and the garden is waiting for you?

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is a columnist for On Being. His column appears every Wednesday.

He is a Quaker elder, educator, activist, and founder of the Center for Courage & Renewal. His books include A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life, and Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation. His book On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old will be published in June.

Share Your Reflection


  • Jan Datzman Carter

    We get so beaten down we need the reminder to blossom today to blossom tomorrow to blossom…

  • Gabby

    Indeed, for someone frozen into an uncomfortable place- or frozen into a too-comfortable place, why not take the chance to open up in concert with the Spring, to respond to that nudge?
    [I have just finished reading Let Your Life Speak and chose for journaling today the thoughts that “embracing ones wholeness makes like more demanding” and “the perverse comfort we sometimes get from choosing death over life…”]

  • Rebecca Narum

    “There is no jailer strong enough to hold the spring in” so fighting it often wears us down even more than opening up to it. But, at least personally, coming to realize that, remembering that it is true, and/or then trusting in it is often where I get stuck.

    Great reminder, thanks!