The promise of spring

All winter I kept waiting for the weatherman’s promise of snow. I’m one of those people who just wants at least one really nice snowstorm to complete the winter, and I’ve been waiting for two years and it hasn’t happened.

One nice snow day for the kids and the kids in us grown-ups is all I ask. You know, that kind of day when God tells everybody to slow down because he’s sending down a soft, white blanket to cover the cracks and the imperfections we humans are so good at creating. I love walking outside and looking skyward as those lacy, round flakes slip down from the sky, each one taking its’ time on deciding just where to land. I’m talking about the kind of snowstorm where the whole world seems to have suddenly become quiet and peaceful as though everybody has taken a long, slow breath and is happy with their life. It doesn’t happen very often, and I really do need to hang on one more year to hope that our Maker will answer my request for that one, perfect, clean snowy day.

I can just hear my readers saying “I hope she isn’t going to talk about her health again, is she?” But when you’re pushing 89, your health is usually anything other than normal, and I’m no exception. Not one day since I’ve lost a breast to cancer have I felt really normal. The doctors can’t seem to find out the reason for my weak spells that send me to my bed, and I’ve had a ton of them. No more questioning, I just have to live with this problem. Most of the time I handle this with some kind of gracious acceptance, but once in awhile I get so darned depressed I want to scream. That wouldn’t do any good, but depressed I become and I’m not a very nice person to be around.

It was one of those days when I got up early and thought oh, no, not today. I went into the laundry room to open the back door for our puppies and looked out at the trees in the back yard. All of them had the beginning looks of hey, it’s springtime especially one really beautiful flowering plum. As I glanced at the yard I could see that one particular tree had a lot of new, brownish buds. OK, so I felt rotten, but the coffee was made, and I managed to gulp down a swallow or two as I pulled out orange juice, milk and a box of cereal. It wasn’t going to be one of those “I’m making homemade pancakes today days.”

Then I just plunked down this old body on the soda and turned on the early morning news. What do you do when you’re facing a full day of retirement, the hours loom large and you aren’t heading out to your usual job? I listened to people talk about retirement during my working days, and I was always envious when they had their retirement party and headed out the door of the office for the last time. Then it happened to me. I was hired for my last job at the tender age of 71. Anybody who understands me knows that I like being kept busy since it’s what’s helped me keep my sanity after losing my husband Van so many years ago. I really loved that last job, and giving it up when I was pushing 80 still wasn’t easy.

Anyway, I spent about five hours slumped down on the sofa watching news and cooking shows while the latest weak spell sent it’s way through my bones. Then my son Doug called from the back yard to see something. Oh no, I thought, why do I have to get up? However, I did and slowly moved my body out into the yard. There, to my utter amazement, was that same plum tree that earlier had only buds on its branches. Now it was covered with beautiful, plump pink flowers.

Whenever I’m feeling down, I recall a true television story about a young man sitting on a corner sidewalk leaning against a wall. He was holding out a cup for donations. The sign in front of him said simply this: “It is spring, and I am blind.” So what if I’m hurting? It’s spring again, and I can see those pink blossoms on that beautiful tree. Who am I to complain?

Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer.


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