"Facing south" is a good springtime art, the purpose of which is to restore creative forces that ebb, to restore enthusiasm for existence when winter and the vicissitudes of life have driven enthusiasm low.
When we lived on Road V, I was often alone in the old house standing by itself out in flat farmland. Low times sometimes hit me, and facing south was part of the solution.
I scratched up dirt on the south side of the house, like a dog preparing to settle in. I sat down in the dirt, leaned against the faded old wood of the house, and soaked up early spring sunshine.
I allowed tensions that had knit themselves into my limbs to release into sunshine. Low reservoirs of everything I needed to proceed with creative pursuits began to refill.
Birds flew and sang. V-shaped flights of Canada geese flew from the game refuge and spread across the valley, seeking their day's feed. Swans flew from the refuge, red-winged blackbirds sang of spring from perches on last year's cattails, and meadow larks rejoiced in sunshine and sang gratitude for existence.
I let the day become sunshine, birdsong, and birds flying in the spring sky. I sat in sunshine, leaned against the old house, led not by an intention I fully understood, but by meaning deeper than words. I felt gratitude as clear as the brilliant spring song of a meadow lark, as clear as 21 geese flying the early-morning sky in spring formation.
I felt gratitude for my existence, for spring, for sunshine, for red-winged blackbirds, geese, swans, and meadow larks. Gradually, I filled with gratitude, with renewed enthusiasm for life, with renewed creativity, with a sense of deep peace.
Eventually, I stood up, brushed clinging dirt from my trousers, and wandered happily through part of the day, watching all the life forms around me celebrate spring. I returned to the house, picked up my guitar, and wrote a new song about gratitude - for a meadow lark singing on a fence post, for the colors in clouds in the western sky, and for the song itself, ringing clearly into the day.
Dirt, sunshine, and old wood that has served as shelter are symbols, steps on the way to gratitude for existence, for every symbol of life and life's sources.