Thursday, April 05, 2007


This is something we used to talk about a lot, back when I was working. We did a lot of work focused on 'transforming' organizations, or departments, or teams or individuals, mainly so the corporation could sell more widgets and make more money.

Now that I've been forcibly removed from the corporate universe, now that I spend the majority of my time in and around our home, I had a thought about transformation - real transformation.

I know I've rhapsodized about spring in Portland a few times (maybe even a few too many times?) in earlier posts. I'm not here to retract one word of what I've written (spring in Portland is absolutely the best) but watching the changes - or, if you will, the transformation - taking place daily in our back yard, has caused me to think about that process in a very different way.

A few minutes ago, I cut the first tulip (a lovely, yellow blossom), brought it into the house and put it in a vase. It occurred to me that the tulip buds hadn't even appeared at the beginning of last week, and now - presto! - we have buds and tulips appearing all over our yard. Trees (there are several huge trees in yards that abut ours) that were just barely showing green if you looked carefully a week or so ago are now so covered with green blossoms that we can no longer see through to the road below (which means, thankfully, that we can no longer see the billboard either!). Within a week or so, we won't be able to see the houses to our south, and we'll again feel as if we're living in semi-isolation, rather than in a thickly-settled neighborhood in Southwest Portland. The split-leaf Japanese maple that traveled with us from Berkeley, and now sits on our front porch where I can see it from the kitchen window, is suddenly covered with open leaves. Two weeks ago, I had to strain to see the first buds appearing on its branches.

In my current incarnation as a stay-at-home, non-working person, I see all of this amazing change in our landscape as different kind of transformation, one that doesn't have to be taught or mandated or demanded. This beautiful, quiet, delicate, elegant and silent transformation happens because - well, because it's part of an organic and natural cycle.

I very much prefer this natural transformation to the kind we tried to facilitate back when I was working. With 20/20 hindsight, I finally realized that the best we were able to do was effect temporary changes. Calling what we did 'transformation' was the ultimate in arrogance.

It's the trees that really understand transformation.


Revalani said...

The natural world "knows" what it has to do to survive, and does it, year after year. Pretty awesome. Corporate exployees? Maybe they sense that carrying out somebody else's agenda isn't worth torqueing themselves around for.

It really is amazing to watch spring unfold. You can almost see the changes, hour by hour.

mdmhvonpa said...

We had a warm period followed by a violent cold snap that really put a hurting on a lot of the flowers (daffodils mostly) here in Pennsyltucky. It's nice to see them doing their best to throw up the flowers. Poor crocus' really got nailed hard.

Libbi said...

What a bummer! We had snow last year that coated all of the daffodils and crocuses, but everything survived.

Char said...

Interesting. Just the things that Pat and I have been observing...and things I plan to blog myself. From our maples, to our newest crabapple, there is color everywhere. I dearly love fall here, so gorgeous...but spring reminds me that there really are four seasons and they all exist here in amazing Oregon. The trees have the right idea...a long and restful sleep followed by the burst of leaves and flowers to announce, "Hey, I'm awake again!"

Libbi said...

And unlike some of us humans (raising my hand here), they don't seem to be at all cranky when they wake up from a long nap! ;-)