Hiding but Hoping to Be Found

My eyes flicked open. The clock on my bedside table read 4:15. We had decided we would do the egg hunt after quiet time.

“Mama?” Luke called from the kitchen. My dreams patterned over the sheers blowing into my room. They played with the wavy shadows cast by the window mullions. “Mama?” The screen door opened and banged shut. “Mama?”

“Don’t look!” I heard cousin Julia say to him in the backyard. “Or I’ll hide it again!”

He called my name from the basement, from the foyer, from the stairs, and then the calling stopped.

I didn’t want to be found, but I wanted to be looked for.


The day had started at 6:45 with the 4-hour leg of lamb sliding into the oven, and the crescendo of garlic softening, giving away its perfume.

A blue striped oxford for Mark, khakis for Luke, and a hand-me-down lavender dress for Diana that needed ironing. Three dozen eggs to be hard-boiled, and late-night instructions for vegan asparagus soup: Could someone please buy raw cashews, lots of basil, and vegetable broth? Clutter that had been collecting for days, whisked away minutes before our guest arrived at 11.


It was Easter and Mark’s 13th birthday. A beginning and an ending. Our son is now taller than me, his lilting voice gone, his shoulders a broad gate.

After spring break, he and his younger siblings will most likely return to school two days a week. Virginia is taking more shifts to save up for college, and Sofia has been going on camping trips in preparation for her big one.

After every pulling together is a drifting apart. When schools closed last March, we ate hot meals at noon around the big table like a farming family. Our separate ages, interests, and goals collapsed into a unity necessary to bear through the crisis.


Only scar-pink pistils remain on the weeping cherry that for one week was resplendent. But the fruiting cherry is beginning to swirl out round petals of white light. Little suns.

Life is an unrelenting tumble of grief and discovery. Losing and finding. Sugar crunching between the teeth melts on the tongue. Gifts bulging with possibility dissipate into tangles of ribbon. Blue button-downs are now crumpled in the laundry bin.

“It is a joy to be hidden, and disaster not to be found.”

D.W. Winnicott

We hunt for plastic eggs, not because of the dime-store candies inside, but for the promise of finding. We want to be the one to spot the baby blue globe tucked in the car wheel, the dome of pink sunk into a tuft of spiky leaves.

To be unfound, or to be ignored, is a kind of death.

I like being invisible now, because another part of me is unspooling into the world. Through the sound of my voice, I find myself.

Under bushes, in the crooks of branches, tucked into log piles, I still like leaving eggs. Hoping someone will find them, and know me.

When the Cherry Trees Bloom

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.

A 1st Grader’s Journal

In the spring I like to…
do a easter egg hunt,
die eggs,
make a easter egg drawing,
plant seeds,
ride my bike on a walk on the streets,
have popsicles outside if it is sunny and warm,
eating lamb on easter,
reading,
writing cards to people in my family,
watching my toolips open,
encourage my baby boxwoods.