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Spring Equinox & Us: "Instructions For Not Giving Up"

When all the shock of white / and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave / the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath, / the leaves come. Patient, plodding / a green skin / growing over what winter did to us, / a return / to the strange idea of continuous living despite / the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then, / I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a slick new leaf / unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.”

Ada Limon “Instructions on Not Giving Up” [1]

The Spring Equinox has arrived, and with it the promise of longer days and shorter nights. Sunday, March 20th, 2022 marked the first day this year where light has lasted as long as the dark.


And there has been a lot of darkness as of late.


It has been a challenging winter. Long nights—metaphorical and otherwise. An ongoing pandemic, political division, the threat of nuclear war. So much darkness has emerged in this long, cold winter. But the Spring Equinox has arrived. And as Ida Limon writes, “I’ll take it” … [2]


For various Indigenous nations, the Spring Equinox is a time of renewal. It represents “a time of rebirth, where warmth returns, flowers bloom and animals come out of hibernation to greet a new year.” [3] It is intimately tied to land connection and the “awakening of the garden from its winter rest to begin harvest and growing food to sustain life.” [4]

It is also a time of gathering, a season to come together, and forge new beginnings. The blossoming of flowers and blooming of greenery is a reminder “that change can be beautiful and comes eventually after hard times.” [5]

And as the world continues to turn, it is up to us to embrace this new season. To embrace what comes next and foster transformative relationships. To look beyond winter, beyond the hard times. To open our hearts and minds to the idea that beautiful things are waiting to be found.

That is where systemic change begins. From the organizations raising up their community (read here) to the festivals in the NWT (read here) to the traditional meals being cooked in healthcare (read here). Relationships, love, and change are all around us.

And that is not to dismiss the “the mess of us, the hurt, the empty.” [6] Rather it is to acknowledge the winter we are emerging from. To hold space for the harm and the hurt and divisiveness in a way that allows us to come back together. A slow “unfurling like a fist to an open palm.” [7]

That is where reconciliation can be found. Not in white-knuckled fists gripped too tight, but in open palms, and a willingness to receive the gifts and knowledge of others.

This is what gives me hope. Not just for the journey to reconciliation, but for every intersection where law meets community. Where law collides with people.

Because spring has arrived, but so too have we.


Until next time,


ReconciliACTION YEG


[1] Ada Limón, “Instructions on Not Giving Up” (1976), online: Poets.org <https://poets.org/poem/instructions-not-giving>.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Tristan Picotte, “Spring Equinox in Native American Cultures” (24 Mar 2020), online: Partnership with Native Americans <http://blog.nativepartnership.org/spring-equinox-in-native-american-cultures/>.

[4] Julie Greco, “Indigenous Education zooms into spring with virtual Awaken the Garden celebration” (15 Mar 2021), online: Niagara College <https://www.niagaracollege.ca/insidenc/2021/03/15/indigenous-education-zooms-into-spring-with-virtual-awaken-the-garden-celebration/>.

[5] “The Spiritual Impact of Spring Equinox” (2022), online: Wrist Chakra <https://wristchakra.com/blogs/wristchakrablog/the-spiritual-impact-of-spring-equinox>.

[6] Limón, supra note 1.

[7] Ibid.


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