Dragging Into the Year

The hours and days are pushing by. The new year came, we’re four days into it, and I’m already lagging behind. It feels as though I have grabbed onto my own body’s shirt front and am pulling myself along to try and keep up.

I see from my upstairs office window how time is rolling over itself, as I look at the dogwood tree, now the height of my sill, empty except for shiny red Christmas berries that are fast changing into balls that will soon become blossoms. The top of the tree is already going to balls — tiny and teardrop-shaped, with pale green on the bottom side and alizarin crimson on the top half, with seams shaped like a cross and dusted with white. It seems so soon for this to be happening. The blossoms won’t come for another month or two.

Unlike the fast-progressing dogwood, I am behind the curve. I normally never get sick, yet here I am, entering a new year with chest congestion and bronchitis that turn into an ear infection. I can’t hear, I can’t breathe, I can’t think, I can’t keep up. All I do is cough. I need to be over this by tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I cling to the hope that I see on the tree below me. I know that inside the crimson-covered ball, there is a promise of pure white silk, and it will unfurl into fresh life, with only a reminder of hard times brought forward in its blood-stained tips.

But what everybody sees is the white flower.