The 14th of March is Dita e Verës (Summer Day) in Albania, which marks the end of winter and the coming of the warmer months – the shifting between seasons. Whilst it may seem a little early to start declaring the start of summer in March, we can already note the changes around us as the days lengthen, the flowers show off their colours, and we consider whether that extra layer might really be necessary today or not.
As the years go by, I realise more and more that things are woven together and that if you’re paying attention, the seams at which the fabric of life is stitched together become visible. Although, these often-hidden connections didn’t need specialist equipment to find during this Summer Day – the synergy of the unfolding events was beautiful to experience.
Our lives are full of shifting seasons, those that are marked by the changing of the leaves and the moving weather patterns, and those that are expressed through the evolution of circumstance and choice.
When I first visited Albania in 2006, I had no idea that the dance of circumstance and choice would waltz its way to where I find myself today – a little over fifteen years later. Yet, here I am – now renting an apartment in Tirana, as Steven and I navigate splitting our time between the two cities we call home. I don’t think it will ever be possible for me to hang up my Londoner card entirely (but perhaps I should have learnt by now that there is nothing definite, only change), yet it also became untenable to not heed the call coming from the Land of the Eagles.
This is a significant seasonal shift, and I am recognising the need to practice deep-listening for myself and those who are impacted by this move. Of course, whilst there is something noteworthy in a new beginning on the day in which summer is welcomed, it would be foolhardy to not be prepared for the challenges that the hotter more intense months can bring. If winter is a period of drawing inward, seeking nourishment, and finding warmth (and many of us have likely had an extended winter these past two years) – all physically but also emotionally and spiritually; then summer contains energy, heat, the outworking of plans and desires. Neither season is perfect, neither season can exist without the other, neither season contains all that we need for all time; sounds like my formidable part-time friend “balance” might be attempting to be heard again?
So, I enter this new summer with a desire for an open heart and an open mind, and an intent to listen and find stillness as much as I seek to speak and pursue activity. To create space for space itself and not to simply fill it, but to also pursue loves that I have left on a low heat for too long. As I finish writing this, Lorde’s “Solar Power” plays in the coffee shop I often prop myself up at whilst in Tirana:
“It's a new state of mind
Are you coming, my baby?”
Blue sky views from our new neighbourhood.