An ambulance wails through the air warm enough to burst buds into blossoms on every cherry tree along our street. But the siren no longer unfurls dread from my chest as it did when the cherries bloomed last year. The sirens soaked the air with blood, terrifying as the blares in my midwestern town when a tornado was spotted.
It is said that when the mind weeps for what is lost, the soul rejoices for what is found.
In the taut stillness of spring last year, I felt held in the gasp of the entire world. I would see an ordinary nuthatch, hopping along the fence rail, and see that we had never been that different.
I was the nuthatch on the rail, the common violet in the grass, noticed for the first time. I was the purple magnolia weeping on the sidewalk. The puddle waiting to be stepped in by me.
More and more people tell me they are halfway or fully vaccinated. We are still wearing masks and staying home on Saturday night, but that will change. When the mayor announced that gatherings of 50 or less were allowed again, a bolt of panic struck. Who will protect the calm sea where I have anchored?
When the future opens, the present becomes a forgotten town we sail past on the way to glamorous ports.
A storm came this afternoon. The wind played jazz on the neighbor’s chimes. Dots of rain spotted the earth until they merged into a single color, louder than the birds.
In gardening it’s known that nature will tell you when it’s time. When you hear the tree frogs, it’s time to plant the peas. When the forsythia blooms, prune the roses. When the apple blossoms fade, tomatoes can be set in the ground.
When the cherry trees bloom, remember to live as if death could come tomorrow.
When the world is a jumble, be a daffodil, steady and open. When everything is too serious, see the raindrops dancing on the blacktop. And when you think life is deprived of majesty, notice the great old cypress after a storm, dipped in the sun’s glitter, talking big with the sky.