Spring Won’t Skip Its TurnPosted: February 15, 2009
“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” [Hal Borland]
My first daffodil bloomed early last week. Now the whole clump is bursting forth — downy yellow heads, delicate on hard cold ground. Spring comes softly.
It sneaks up on me, everywhere I turn, trees budding, birches tasseling, dogwoods getting ready to open their tiny white balls filled with crunched up blooms. I’m not ready for it. In the world I live in, it is hard to see life coming forth all around me. I am cocooned in death, loss, grief, a world that has changed forever and turned harsh and hateful. I feel like the fragile flower sitting in the middle of it all. I am the dogwood flower crunched up like a tight fist inside its cover — it gets glimpses of warm sunshine, but it stays put for now.
When I do stick a petal out to test this new world, I get ambushed every time.
Last Friday night I went to “A Black Tie Affair” presented by the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County at the Embassy Suites. Their mission is to preserve their culture and foster understanding and appreciation of their heritage. The night’s theme was “Change Gonna Come” and honoring those civil rights activists who helped break the barriers of racial and social injustice. One of the most powerful moments was Bro. Ralph Thompson’s reading of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. King said back in 1963, “I have a dream that … the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.” And we did. Change does come. It was a nice evening, and I was proud of myself for taking this big step of going out alone. As I drove away at eleven o’clock, I found myself sitting at the intersection of Carothers and Cool Springs Boulevard, and I was ambushed then and there. This was the spot ten or so years ago that my husband and I parked his Rodeo and loaded up big fieldstones that were being uncovered by new construction — stones to place around our backyard pond and flowerbeds. It was barren then — no road, no buildings, no nothing — just a gravel inlet off the boulevard, weeds, dirt, scraped earth, rocks upturned. We’d built a life together. And on a few Sunday afternoons we’d gathered stones on the same spot where I now sat in a long velvet dress, wearing the silver bracelet he bought me at Jerrod’s. Change does come.
I thought about how he should have been there. For years he was Manager, Corporate Minority Business Development at Alcoa Aluminum Company. He worked with Minority and Women’s Business on a national and state level. He was in the White House during the Reagan and Bush #1 years and met Governor Clinton at a trade show he did in Arkansas. There are plaques and awards in the home we built that show all the good he did. Change does come.
In an otherwise yellow daffodil world, I’ve been buried in taxes this week — not the normal package I prepare every year for our accountant, but two business tax versions this year — one for January 1 – June 28 when my husband was owner/operator of the computer networking business and one for June 29 – December 31 when I became owner by default after he died. It was bad enough last summer to have to move all the furniture, inventory, supplies, and peripherals collected over the years out of the office, hauling many of them to the dumpster on the grounds and slamming them hard against its metal sides, but now I have to physically type up and look at the list of dispositions — all his things I’ve had to write off, sell, store, throw away. After taxes, I must fill out another form for the State of Tennessee — all the assets and liabilities he left me, not that it’s any of their business. Someone might as well take a knife and slide it down my forearm and let it bleed out all this data in a red stream across the floor.
And then came Valentine’s Day and the reality that there will never again in my life be red roses or the three blessed words — “I love you.” I saw men in Publix buying bouquets, women perusing the card rack, and every red heart was an ambush, an arrow piercing my heart. Change does come.
This year, I have daffodils. Damn daffodils that I would like to stomp back in the earth. And I just want to know how there can be all this new and fresh life everywhere around me? Because my world is of Winter and death and loss and grief. And I want Spring to just skip this one year and give me some time to catch up. Damn it all.