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This week I wanted to talk about chairs but I resisted talking about chairs because they seemed to me like an odd-ball topic for symbolic examination.

Whilst busying myself trying to find something else to write about, I discovered these words I’d written in an art therapy assignment: “Experiential art therapy is not about solving problems but exploring possibilities.” The idea of exploring possibilities stood out for me as a message to remain open to whatever comes up, even if it’s a chair. So this post has become about exploring possibilities woven into the seat of a chair.

Exploring possibilities

There are endless possibilities. Within every moment of life, a million possibilities lie. Exploring possibility through art is a way of opening ourselves up to new patterns; patterns that already exist. Patterns just waiting to be discovered.

I read an article by Cathy Malchiodi in Psychology Today, which reminded me as a practitioner, of the value of being open to what comes up in the moment, when working with clients. Malchiodi rightly criticises the overly prescriptive approach when practicing art therapy ie. relying on art therapy recipes and ‘interventions’ to deal with a particular type of person or issue.

Even though Symbolica is not intended as a therapy site, I do use art making as a therapeutic tool wherever possible, for myself and to share with you here.

This leads me back to the subject of chairs and exploring their symbolic possibilities.

I am learning that once I open myself to whatever idea, symbol or image that does come, it becomesthe theme for my week and will pop up all over the place.

And maybe, just maybe,it might come to you at just the right time.

Is a chair just a chair?

So sit down on your favourite chair, and relax. You do have one don’t you? Or do you find yourself wriggling about, sitting on your foot, fighting to get comfortable. Unable to concentrate.

Shouldn’t everyone have a favourite chair? We spend enough time sitting on them. Different ones for every occasion. From throne, to stool. From diner to lounge. Outdoor, indoor, cane, wood, leather and plastic.

Sinking down. Sitting upright. Chairs to feed your babies in. Chairs to sit in whilst watching tv. Chairs for sitting on whilst meditating or making art. We’re usually doing something in them. Seldom nothing.

Simply relaxing

Why might you use a symbol of a chair? In what circumstance might it be of help?
Do you need to take time out? Rest up?
Do you need to allow yourself time to consolidate an idea?
Perhaps let others take control for a while. Like sitting in a plane for hours- relinquish control.

Feeling special

You are really special. You deserve it. You’re not a drone. You’re not hopeless. You are royalty!
Feel the lush velvet cushion under your bottom. Any moment now, someone will be in to give you a pedicure and a manicure.
Then they’ll raise you above their heads and carry you through the crowds, still poised regally on your golden throne.

Taking control

There are chairs you sit in when driving a vehicle. You are now in control. So if you feel out of control, or not in control at all, imagine sitting in a chair with a control panel in front. You are the captain. You can go wherever you want to go. You’re not walking because you’ll need your legs when you get there.

 

 

How do you react to distractions to your workflow?

Historically I have a habit of allowing breaks in my workflow, to distract me for big chunks of time, sometimes even years.

I have had trouble getting back into flow.

I’ll be very brief this week. I need to be brief because I want to maintain my momentum, despite a few internal and external distractions, such as school holidays and an argument with the cold virus.

I’ve been encouraging little mantras that have been going round and round in my head as I try to at least to get something done.

Just keep the balls in the air

First came the image. The image that popped into my head was a symbol of a juggler.

When thinking of jugglers we might think of ‘keeping the balls in the air’ or ‘keeping up the momentum’.

According to my favourite juggler when you start dropping the balls it’s a sign you’re on the verge of ‘getting it’- so don’t give up. It’s the worst time to give up. If you do you’ll miss out on the fruits of your labour.

Just keep swimming

I overheard a swimming teacher the other day reminding his little students of Dory’s mantra “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming swimming”. I’ve found myself reciting her mantra many times this week, always with a laugh. Dory was a simple fish with a big heart from the movie Finding Nemo. She had some insightful ideas on how to get on in life and suggested that when life gets you down do something you love to do and keep the momentum going.

Make good art

Finally this leads us to an inspiring piece of art work by Neil Gaiman, forwarded to me from Zen pencils. Gaiman too encourages us to keep doing and make the very best you can out of a difficult situation. It doesn’t matter if you are an artist or not the message is still the same. Don’t stop doing what it is you love to do.

What associations come to mind when you think of the Libran symbol of the scales?

  • Balance- Is more balance in your life something you strive for? What does it mean to be balanced? Is it moderation or is it more like the concept of taking only what you need and replacing what you have taken? Does the idea of being balanced bore you?
  • Judgment- Do you feel judged by others? Do you judge others? What does that feel like? Is it something you’d like to change either way?
  • Justice- Do you have a strong sense of justice? Did it come about from life experience, parental or peer influence? Does the scales symbol make you feel anything? eg. stir up feelings for your cause, bring up associations of injustice
  • Weighing yourself against others- Do you enjoy competing against others? Does it help you strive harder to succeed? Or do you feel something else?

The concept of Balance stood out for me at this time and found myself writing the words below. I hope you enjoy :

The weighing of my Heart

“Seek balance!”
is the common cry that reaches your ears.
The Holy Grail of meaning balanced just within reach.
In the sweet spot.

Accepting the quest you mount your steed,
galloping into the fray of adventure,
excited for discovery.
Only to fall off the other side….dead.

When Anubis weighs your heart against the feather,
will you be scolded for your behaviour like a naughty school kid?
Or will you be proud to know that you were not leaning to one side?
Deeds judged.
You were not found wanting.

The golden feather is lighter than it looks.
Fluttering heart weighs heavy in anticipation.
“Wait!” you cry.
Anubis’s eyes narrow.
His lips purse.
He’s heard this all before.

“I seek divine order!” you try to sound commanding.
“Do I not float suspended between my last breath and the silence of forever?
Is this not the perfect moment of balance?
The moment I understand all truth,
and then know nothing at all?”

Anubis smiles down at you,
indulgent, perhaps,
but is that also malice reflected in his black eyes?
“Silence!” he hisses- more commanding than you.
“I’ve seen you in your enthusiasm.”

Then mimicking your voice perfectly, he continues
“Fuck balance! Let’s play!
Let’s throw caution to the wind!
We can kick ourselves in the morning.”

Cowering behind the scales,
remembering fun times and the guilt that pursued them.
You suspect you’re in big trouble now.
You always mocked the style of confession,
and yet did you practice what you preached?

The Jackal-headed god begins to laugh.
Throwing his head back. The joke’s now on you.
He has dissected your heart and seen truth.
Dip your hand in the good deed jar and skip away…
…..with enthusiasm before he changes his mind.

Poof!
Time’s up.
Your quest is complete.
Fading colour and animation reduced to carbon dust.

The point of balance is an invitation to magic.
Watch closely a tightrope walker, showing the finger to life and to death.
I imagine faeries coming out to play,
when moments of balance are created.
Moving furniture about,
or causing rifts in the space-time continuum.

Choir singers, high on harmonic waves.
The audience in rapt attention,
pulled out of their reverie unceremoniously, into a parallel universe.
With sore arses from having their chairs whipped out from under them.

So if your face droops slightly, or you spend more than you earn.
If you play too hard without a nod to the consequences,
or are obsessed with shoes,
can you claw your way back to balance;
to compensate somehow?
Or will you likely keep falling,
taking everything from the kitchen table down with you?

And is it ok to be completely imbalanced on special occasions
like birthdays and anniversaries?
Or do you have to pay the price; balance the books so to speak?
Then can you can grasp your Holy Grail in peace?

words by Ra

Happy birthday to Librans

Dear people of Libra. Happy birthday to you all! I have ceased to do my sun sign research and the sharing of gift ideas because it just didn’t feel in tune with the site in general. Your planetary alignments and general personalities have no doubt still had much influence on this week’s post. Thank you for the symbol of the scale that lead me to think about balance and the lack of it!

The Teachings of Obi-Wan

So I’m wandering around,
feeling all fragile and blue.
You saunter in the back door,
in your soft fur coat,
calling out to whoever’s there.

“I’m home! Where are you all?”
“I’m here right in front of you!”
I reply with a smile.

I’m laughing at you.
Cos your lovely and funny,
and sometimes a bit dim.

You don’t seem to notice,
I don’t think you’d care if you did.

No… your self-assured swagger speaks volumes.
You don’t need my praise.
You like it though.
That’s one thing I love,
and I’ll put that in my pocket,
to remember for later.

Weaving through my legs,
we are keyed into the present.
You and I.
Continuous yammering,
whilst you weave.
“Pussy cat pussy cat, where have you been?”
“What have you seen?”

‘Cos I don’t speak cat.
I attempt to read your eyes,
for stories and conversation.

Are there traces of ancient tales,
buried in that far away gaze?
Passed down through the ages,
mixed in with news of our neighbours.

“That’s enough!” you rebuff
held gaze broken.
You stalk away through the house
Like a detective.
Looking for clues.

I follow you,
‘cos I need something you’ve got
that I haven’t,

Enduring my clutch,
with play bite and raspy tongue.
Squirming to leap from my neediness,
escaping to higher ground.

Looking down upon me,
an eagle perch of repose on my bookshelf.
Your body starts to purr.
All engines on.
“I am exactly where I want to be right now” you sigh
Draping fur and flesh,
collapsed in liquid form.

I find myself laughing again.
More robust now.
The lesson is over.

First, for a bath,
to find my peace.
Leap beyond with caution,
into my adventure,
Wearing the outside world,
like my fur coat.

The observer.
The adventurer.
The story-teller.
The one who knows where to be at the right time.

Cat doodles in ink and wire by Ra 2012

Teachings and positives of the Cat:

  • Soft fur- If you are feeling lonely or blue and have a willing cat, pop it on your lap and stroke it’s soft fur. Generally you’ll find yourself in a win-win situation as many cats love a cuddle and a firm pat.
  • Graceful- generally very quiet (of body), you’ll probably see your cat before you hear him. Are you clumsy? Do you find yourself losing things or forgetting how you got from point A to point B? Then take a look at the way the cat moves, rather like a dancer. They are very thoughtful in their movements. I doubt that they are ever conversing in their heads, whilst negotiating a leap over the back fence.
  • Purr- How do you express yourself when you are content? Do you make a point of sharing with those around you how happy you are to be in this place at this time?
  • Intense eyes- Cat’s eyes speak of exotic far away lands, mystery and magic. They come in lots of beautiful colours, and I challenge you to gaze into them and see if you see an ancient Egyptian reflected back at you (or it might be your neighbour).
  • Flexible- Oh so flexible! They remind us that we all should probably be practicing our Yoga, or at least stretching well when we get up or change position. What cat gets up from their bed without a good old stretch?
  • Whiskers- The cat’s whiskers are ultra sensitive, and can detect even the slightest change in wind direction. Imagine if we had something like a cat’s whiskers that could give us an electronic read out of what was up ahead. For example, someone’s mood, their vital statistics or how best to negotiate with them- that sort of thing.
  • Observers- Have you ever noticed how long your cat spends watching the world go by? Spending more time contemplating and observing can help us to make more informed actions.
  • Independent- Cats are generally luckier than dogs these days because they have more freedom to roam beyond their yards. Dogs are much more dependent on humans and are bound to them through choice. Cats of course vary widely in their personalities, but are often much more self-contained and able to care for themselves or take up residence elsewhere if they are not having their needs met at home. If you need to break away from a less than ideal situation at home, look to the cat for some survival tips.
  • Playful- Even my very old cat gets ‘the mads’ occasionally. She’s quite a serious one and yet is still capable of ‘flights of fancy’. We all need to do something crazy, and out of character, from time to time. If you are down, depressed or bored, practicing doing something actively crazy as your cat does is sure to get your temperature up if nothing else.
  • Artists of resting- They rest so well and so often. There’s nothing wrong with a little cat nap during the day if you need it. Breaking up your day with some deep relaxing breaths so that you may recharge your mind and body is also worthwhile.

What lies at the core?

Is it a star?

Is it a pentagram?

Is it a tiny person?

No, it’s just an ordinary apple core…..or is it just ordinary?

Have you ever cut an apple breadth-wise and noticed the little five-pointed star shape at the core? Well someone long ago obviously did and because of the internal shape of the five seed compartments, associated the apple with the number five.

Five is a significant symbolic number in terms of  being at the centre of the first ten numbers. So it is regarded as being the number of harmony and balance. It is the number associated with human beings because of our five senses, and if you imagine a drawing of a person with arms outstretched, we can be divided into five segments. The Pentagram, the symbol of the spiritual human,  is a five pointed star.

The whole apple symbolises the human spirit within the flesh because of the pentagram shape within it’s flesh.

Ancient Connections

Christian artists from way back associated the apple as the fruit of the tree of life and the tree of knowledge, both of which resided in the garden of Eden. So it has been associated with human temptation and ultimate sin, as well as knowledge. Through Greek and Norse mythology the sacred ‘golden apple’ has been associated with eternal life, rebirth and beauty.

Healthy connections

Apples are everywhere in this world in all their glorious different guises. They provide us with health giving sustenance. They are easy companions, keeping their integrity well in lunch boxes.

When I contemplate the apple I think of a harvest festival in Autumn on a bright sunny day, with a touch of new crispness in the air. I imagine communities coming together, from the orchards to the village square, and the earthiness of it all.

Since 1990 the Environmental Organisation, Common Ground began ‘Apple Day’ in the UK, which pretty much sums up my idea of what the apple is all about. Connecting and grounding us in body and spirit to the earth.

Here’s a quick way to ground yourself using an apple.

If you’re feeling ungrounded after spiritual practice, or you’re just a daydreamer like me, try practicing the following:

  • Sit quietly, taking some deep breaths. Give yourself time to settle down without distractions- which means no multi tasking.
  • Cut an apple breadth-wise (as in the image above).
  • Take some time to contemplate the five pointed shape at the core.
  • Draw your awareness out from the core to the flesh and the skin of the apple.
  • Consider some of the keywords discussed above eg. Connection, grounded, body, earth, spirit within flesh.
  • Contemplate the connection between your spiritual and bodily self with that of the spiritual and fleshy elements of the apple.
  • Mindfully and slowly begin to chew the apple.
  • Give your whole attention to the act of chewing.
  • Allow yourself to feel the flesh of the apple intermingling with your body. As you swallow feel the apple bring you into full awareness of the moment.
  • Allow your five senses to be acutely aware.
  • Taste with awareness. Try to think of words to describe the taste of this particular apple.
  • Feel with awareness. Allow yourself to notice the different sensations of the feel of the apple in your hand, on your lips, on your tongue.
  • Hear with awareness. What do you hear
  • Smell with awareness. Hold the core to your nose and breath in deeply when you have finished eating.
  • Allow your mind to follow your sense of smell, connecting you to the tree from which the apple came from and the earth where the tree came from.
  • Say a few words of thanks to the essence of the apple for connecting your spirit and body together, reminding you also of your connection to the earth.

I’d love to hear how you go if you try these ideas.

Do you have any special associations with the symbol of the apple?

Do you have other ways of grounding yourself?

 

Do you experience those moments when you to find yourself looking at an ordinary, everyday thing or behaviour in a completely different way and ask ‘Why?’

Living without the dishwasher

This week it happened to me when our dishwasher broke down…again.

In the beginning there was no time for questions. A sense of urgency had descended upon the family. A needed to make a quick decision. Do we get someone in to fix it again or cut our losses and get a new one…asap?

We chose the latter, especially when we pondered the smell that has been recently emanating from the said dishwasher, no matter what super toxic dishwasher cleaners we pumped through it’s pipes.

So whilst the research wizard did his thing online, I faced the task of hand washing!!!!!!

Before I bravely faced the pile of dishes that lay in wait to assault my nicely moisturised hands, I felt a feeling, followed by a thought, which closely resembled a prayer.

The prayer went something like this, “Oh dishwasher Gods please make this a quick and painless exercise. Materialise us a shiny new dishwasher before the sun sets too many times upon our humble home, and all hope is lost! Amen.” – well that’s the gist of it anyway.

Then I attacked the dirty dishes.

Whilst engaging in this most primitive of tasks, (I felt like I was camping), I found myself experiencing one of those ‘Why’ moments, as I was flooded by unexpected feelings and thoughts.

I kind of felt good, relaxed, in the moment, and felt sort of zen (these feelings are almost hard to admit). I found myself comparing what I was doing to stacking and unstacking the dishwasher – a job I dislike. I was enjoying the gentler rhythm of hand washing.

Following are some of the questions that ran through my mind:

  • Could we live without a dishwasher?
  • Why do I seem to have many less dishes when I hand wash than when I use the dishwasher?
  • Why do I need a new glass or plate when the last one has only a couple of crumbs on it?
  • How much electricity would we save if we didn’t use a dishwasher?
  • How much longer is it really to hand wash rather than stack and unstack the dishwasher twice in one day?
  • What is that gritty stuff that sometimes accumulates at the bottom of the glasses in the dishwasher and do I ever ingest it?
  • What the hell is that disgusting smell and where is it coming from exactly?
  • Why do I feel so much more ‘in the moment’ doing this task than I do if I’m stacking and unstacking?

Most of these questions are yet to be answered but the point is that the act of stepping outside yourself and looking at an everyday things from a new perspective is powerful and liberating. Previously I couldn’t imagine doing without a dishwasher, and the panic that I experienced when it broke down now makes me laugh.

‘Look at the everyday in a different way’
Sigil design by Ra 2012

What about you? When was the last time you looked at something ordinary or mundane from a different perspective? How did it feel?

Write to me and tell me your story. I’d love to hear it.

 

 

What does your Virgo love to do? Apart from working hard, looking after you, cleaning the house, making lists of ‘to do’ items and then doing the things on the list?

They love all that stuff, right?

Do you ever wonder if they’d rather be reading a good historical novel or dining out with friends?

Even though they may seem to live and breathe order, a smoothly running household, and looking after others any way they can, they sometimes get mighty grumpy when engaging in these activities don’t they?

I bet you know why too don’t you! Yes you do.

People who value order and cleanliness more than others still need to be acknowledged for the effort they put in. It’s easy to take them for granted but we do reap the benefits don’t we.

If we take some time out to thank our Virgo loved ones for their effort, we might make our lives a little rosier, as well as theirs of course.

If we acknowledge their efforts on a regular basis with a thank you or a hug, we might even get away with being less than perfect- most of the time.

So I suggest kicking them out of the house, to do something fun for the day, whilst you and the rest of the family pitch in and clean up. I will go further to suggest that you might draw up a weekly plan for everyone in the family to pitch in, as support for your over-achieving Virgo.

If your family likes playing games I suggest you look at this fun online game called Chorewars. It’s a perfect platform to get the kids happily involved in doing little things around the house whilst earning virtual points.

Other birthday gift ideas

  • Anything that requires effort on your behalf and none on theirs.
  • A precision tool related to a favourite pastime.
  • Any tool that makes the effort less.
  • A trip to a spa to encourage them to relax and stop fretting over the things they ‘should’ do.
  • David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity– the bible for those who love effective to do lists.
  • Anything that assists with organising their homes eg. a whole stack of Tupperware storage containers (though you’ll have to use discretion- not many people like receiving gifts that are ultimately so they can look after you better)

Now I have read a bit in the past week about a typical Virgo trait as being highly critical of others. I’ve also read from a Virgo point of view that this criticism stems from worry for the other person and their wellbeing. For some people being criticised at every turn is a deal breaker and will not lead to a jot of thanks.

So I suggest to you dear Virgos, if this sounds like you, then you might try to meet your loved ones half way. Be clear about how you feel and what you need . You need to trust them and allow them to take care of themselves as well.

Ode to a Virgo

Precise, organised, efficient, Virgo.
We bow down,
to honour all the hard work you do.

Perhaps you feel we take you for granted.
Probably we do.
Bitter sweet clouds,
reflect upon our floors.

Do not punish us for our slackness.
Do not think less of us for colouring outside the lines.

I don’t see the trees for the forest.
You don’t see the forest for the trees.
There’ll always be forests,
and trees to hide your nakedness behind.

Let’s meet in the clearing.
Map out a plan.
Jewel up rewards.
Hugs and kisses at the end of the day.

Don’t worry about me dear Virgo,
we are not the same.
Accept this and breathe.

But today on this, Your special day,
go out and enjoy some well deserved play.

Do you find the transition between Winter and Spring hard to bear ? Do you find that you often get sick at this time of the year? Well it could be rampant viral bugs flying through the air or it could be a reluctance to leave your warm blankies, and you may be an introvert. Either way here’s a little story for you all.

Bear travels incognito into Spring

A grizzly brown bear wakes up after a long winter sleep. He’d been cosy and warm inside his winter home, at the edge of a forest.

Actually this is a story bear, so he didn’t sleep all winter. He got up every day to make warm porridge. He’d sit in a big squishy sofa chair, eating his porridge by a crackling open fire. He knitted, and doodled. He read books about magic, and cuddled his babies, …and his wife, whilst listening to the wild weather battering the world outside.

The bear was content, happy in his little world. Occasionally when he ventured outside to collect firewood, bracing himself against the prevailing winds, he would come across other woodland creatures. They would nod pleasantly and exchange smiles. Then the bear would amble back to his den, and the warm glow of familiarity within.

On this day when the Bear got up, and peered out of his window, the sun was shining, and there is a faint smell of blossom in the air. Winter was coming to a close. Spring was just around the corner. All of a sudden the air in the house seems a little too stuffy. Their home felt cramped and untidy. The Bear and his family grew restless. So they packed a picnic, and headed out into the sunshine, as did many of the other woodland creatures. Lots of them were rushing around, talking and yelling and doing things. Some were organising parties and raffles and all that kind of stuff.

The bear started to feel a little uneasy. The feeling was slightly familiar, but he couldn’t put his paw on what the feeling was exactly. He started having long dialogues in his head, and gazing off into the distance. His mind wandered. He found himself thinking of things he needed to do at home.

Such as:

Finish his book on magic. Draw that drawing he’d always wanted to draw. Clean out his cupboards. All of it….. in silence. His head started spinning. He felt tired. “The noise! The noise!” He exclaimed, inside his head. Oh it was too much! “Must get back home”, he thought. “Don’t be silly” he replied to himself. “Maybe if I make lots of noise too, I’ll feel better, more like everyone else.” he pondered.

He tried to join in. He made lots of noise, but he just got a sore throat and started to feel a different kind of weird. He sneezed. He coughed. His big bear body started to ache. He had a cold. Now he had to return home to rest. To his quilt, the fireplace, and peace and quiet.

A message for extroverts and other woodland creatures

  • Introverts and bears may require understanding at this time of the year.
  • Make sure their sunglasses are at hand and maybe a wide-brimmed hat so they can acclimatised themselves to the outside world, incognito, so to speak.
  • They love warmth and sunshine too.
  • They love friends and breaking bread with them too.
  • It just may even take several attempts to gently prize them from their indoor comforts.
  • The bear might go into shock if the social season runs at them too quickly.
  • BEWARE if forced against their will to participate, their bodies may resort to sickness (bodies are amazing really) – well that’s what occasionally happens to me at this time of the year anyway!

Here’s another story for introverts from Storypot which just arrived in my inbox. It contains great tips, especially suited to introverted kids, for dealing with public speaking. (What an unpalatable idea!)

Are you an Introvert? I would love to hear how you feel at this time of the year.

 

I had written many words about overcoming distraction.
But I thought you might get distracted before I’ve arrived at my point.
So this is my week’s offering.

I get distracted easily.
So I’ve made myself an amulet to remind me that,
I am in the moment.

Amulet sigil design by Ra 2012

I’ll wear it, so when I see it,
it’ll remind me that,
I am still in the moment.

When I stop noticing my amulet,
because I’m distracted,
I’ll make a different one

Maybe a neon one,
maybe  fluorescent.
Maybe it’ll deliver a mild electric shock,
every time my mind wanders

Anything to bring me back to the moment.
Anything to stop me from  clambering blindy over my ‘nows’,
to get to my non existent futures.

So what value you may ask,
is an amulet that just reminds you?
Doesn’t it do anything else?
Is it a magic way,
to change a lifelong habit?

Not likely.
Anything worth its weight,
doesn’t come that easy.

It is a reminder to work,
to connect,
to build a foundation,
to believe,
and to keep repeating,
until its job is done.

Grind it into your soul.
Embrace it like a long lost brother.
It will be a great ally,
and then it will fade away,
when it’s no longer needed.

If you want an amulet made to remind yourself of something Contact me I’m right here in THIS MOMENT 🙂


A message from Imbolc

Below is a letter I received from my Great Aunt Jessie who is Symbolica’s roving traveller of time and place . Her mission is to send us the occasional report of her unique findings related to meaning and symbols.

Oh dear the weather here in Melbourne was chilly but gorgeous on Wednesday Aug 1. Looks like Cailleach gave herself lots of time to collect her wood- so a longer Winter to be had maybe?

Inspired by the letter, my son, Griffin, and I created some drawings to express the idea of cleansing, releasing and welcoming Spring.

Thoughts of Spring by Griffin