Prevernal Wonders: Everyday Magic, Day 932

I love the prevernal season perhaps best of all: that space between the start of spring and before the leafing out of the big, green world. There’s such a brief series of moment between the last dregs of winter and first flush of spring, snow and daffodils, or sub-zero nights and thunderstorm afternoons. All show us that there is no line between seasons, just a two-steps-forward, four-steps-back, one-leap-forth, and a-crash-to-the-cold-ground dance.

Last night, I was acutely aware of this when we took a sunset walk across part of the field, up the hill, and through the woods, all the trees so dry that we were snapping off interfering branches as we went to make the trail more of a trail. Yet in the middle of this drought moment, there sky exhaled humidity, and for the first time in days, I didn’t feel so thirsty. The clouds cleared, the sky darkened, and over the horizon of time and weather, finally some rain arrived at 4 a.m.

Having woken myself up from a nightmare in which I was the entire KU men’s basketball team, rushing around my house to lock all the doors against impending danger, I sat up in time to see lightning in the distance. I stayed up, convincing myself I wasn’t fragmented in all those star basketball players but just one woman watching the world change to rain.

This morning, the deck and gravel drive held shallow puddles, the top of the car was wet, and the grass around our house was amazingly and suddenly greening up, as if someone crayoned a black-and-white drawing of this world while we slept. Cottonwood Mel’s branches are  full of buds for the leaves to come. The one lone  backyard daffodil, stunted but in bloom will soon have lots of company.

This prevernal time in Kansas is famous for bringing us all four seasons in a day, so I don’t hold onto what sweet, damp, and shining weather is given to us at this moment, but maybe that’s one of the great meanings of in-between times. Change is coming, following an old pattern but unfurling in its own mysterious way. It’s outside of my control, but at least, I can still keep going outside, the air — whatever temperature it is — remembering me to who I am beyond my ideas about myself, and helping me remember what’s real.

“How Can You Not Love That Kind of Winning?”: What the KU Jayhawks Show Us About Life: Everyday Magic, Day 529

“I have no idea how we won,” Robinson said. “I really don’t know.” That really has been the Jayhawk theme this season, inexplicably stealing success from the jaws of sure failure, their schedule littered with improbable comebacks that defy explanation. — how can you not love that kind of winning?

This quote, from Dana O’Neil’s “How to Explain KU? Don’t Even Try,” epitomized not just the game and the way the Jayhawks have been playing lately, but so much of what I see around me all the time. Although winning a game isn’t exactly the main point of life (although this evening, as I watch the Jayhawks play UK for the championship, I’m sure I’ll feel differently), I love what this statement and this team say to me about what matters. I also think of Coach Bill Self’s statement to the press the other day about how, when KU plays Kentucky tonight, if the Jayhawks play business-as-usual basketball, Kentucky will demolish them. But if our guys continually continue, surprise and excel, they have a real chance at winning. This is some of the story behind the story I hear:

  • Whatever your heart most truly desires, whatever you are sure you are alive for requires you to give everything you’ve got, even when there are only micro-seconds left.
  • Realizing a dream isn’t just about planning, determination and desire, but always about practice, practice, practice.
  • Stay loose. Move fast when it’s time. Take a chance.
  • If things fall apart, shake it off, and keep your eyes on the prize. Shake off the bad calls and good calls, failed shots and winning ones.
  • Winning a game may seem like the prize, but it’s really just the doorway to that prize, which is all about the spirit of community and inspiration. Losing opens that door too (sometimes even more so).
  • Surprise your obstacles. Confuse them. Circle around when least expected. Switch strategies at the drop of a hat. Don’t ever get too predictable.
  • Don’t give up, don’t give up, don’t give up.
  • Love the actual game: the way people can fly when least expected. The shockingly-improbable baskets. The way the ball whishes through and keeps bouncing.
  • Arriving at what you dreamed is always — in addition to everything you put into getting here — a mystery. Celebrate that magic. Remember that everything, from the exploding pale green leaves of the cottonwood to the three-pointer floating down at just the right moment, is the end game (for the moment anyway) of the life force.