There's a spring in my step as I open my door on Spring Street in Soho so far this spring.
I feel my hair bounce like a Breck commercial as I smile at puppies and passers-by. I imagine myself as the Italian girl walking through Florence in the black and white poster that hung in so many college dorms. That I look nothing like a hair model or 20-year-old Italian is moot. The sun on the street mirrors my mood and I give thanks to the great gift of time.
See the balm isn't Spring Street or even spring as I moved here last April in the depths of despair. I bolted up each morning at 5:00 crying out for my mother. She had died two months earlier and I needed her to steer me through the rocks of my divorce. I needed her to teach me how to follow in her footsteps as the co-innkeeper at our family inn, the Wilburton Inn in Manchester, Vermont. I needed her to know how much I missed her and loved her and was so sorry she was gone.
I clutched the wooden headboard of my new bed, which my grandmother slept in for 60 years. My grandma was an immigrant who lost her sister in World War Two and buried two husbands and two daughters. Lola Wasserstein was a survivor. I gripped her bedposts to channel her strength, her life force, her courage, her will. Help me grandma to get me through this. There were just too many changes and losses at once and no amount of tulips could make it better.
Last spring, I walked through the streets of New York listening to walking meditations by Jon Kabat-Zinn. I saw the black iron bars of Gramercy Park as a sign. Vibrant azaleas and blossoms beckoned, but the gated park made the garden impenetrable. It was as if I was in jail, barred from the healing power of spring.
Mindfulness helped me observe my sadness and give it the space to heal. When my divorce court date was set in Manhattan on the morning following our Gatsby lawn party in Vermont, I had no choice but to miss the party. Though I'd normally be the first one up for croquet in a bonnet strewn with flowers, last spring wasn't the time. I was dealing with too many transitions. I could not embrace the gaiety of the season.
Yet a full year has passed and now I'm in bloom! I haven't lost 20 pounds or fallen in love or turned the inn into the thriving mecca it one day will be. What has changed is I have turned a new leaf. I feel like Margaret Mead discovering new things and I am grateful to Facebook and The Huffington Post to have a forum to share my journey with others. Last spring I contracted from death and divorce. This year I expand and welcome the energy of spring.
Back in Soho last week, I walked to Liberty Tower and saw the black sunken fountain memorial to remember those who died in the World Trade Tower tragedy. I looked up at the shining Freedom Tower, pointing fearless and bold, straight to the sky. I understood that we can simultaneously hold both: honor those we've lost while reclaiming our strength and going forward.
So to anyone who feels glum or stuck, scared and anxious, remember to everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven. My mother had me and my sister sing Turn, Turn, Turn at my Vermont living room bat mitzvah (yes, we wore overalls and the choreography included us literally turning.) There is a time to mourn and a time to dance. And just because it's spring outside doesn't mean it's spring in your heart, but that's ok. Sit it out a year and spring will be back to offer her bountiful gifts.
And now like the robin, I have to sing. Though I gave up being a NYC songwriter last year to take on being a part-time family innkeeper in Vermont, last week I had the pleasure of writing a song for my son's 5th grade Medieval feast and skipping around his gym as a minstrel. This week I'm writing a custom song for a family from Argentina and Antwerp and their wedding in Israel. This weekend, I'm being flown to Raleigh, North Carolina to sing at a Moey's Music Party fan's second birthday!
So I share this happy music video celebrating spring from my kiddie rock days as my offering to the most powerful mother of all, Mother Nature. Thank you for this annual opportunity to stretch and grow anew. As Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote so simply, may we all bloom and grow forever.