Because the Irish Love to Tell Stories...
Easter Sunday March 31, 2013
Have you ever ridden a roller coaster…and do you remember how it feels when you are heading straight for the sky, jouncing up the tracks, waiting for the euphoric moment when you are at the top and nothing remains but the exhilaration of the impending ride?
That’s the way I have felt this winter-to-spring transition—here it is, no, it isn’t, here it is—and back again. In my world there hasn’t been a lot of snow…just enough to remind us that Lady Winter is on her icy throne.
My crocuses peeked their pointy green heads out of the corner of my garden early this year—January, those cheeky things! But they didn’t bloom until February. It was as if they were baiting winter but being cautiously respectful at the same time. And I, all the while, was ignoring winter and being cautiously optimistic (but I do that every year).
March found me out in the yard, taking pictures of purple flowers with snow in their faces. “You should cover them up,” I was warned, when I mentioned their early arrival. “God doesn’t make mistakes,” I would reply, and leave the tiny things to His devices.
Around the corner, near the gate to the rear garden, I found a daffodil, and it reminded me of a poem I wrote when I went back to the University to finish my degrees at the tender age of 40, single again and the mother of six amazing children.
I see bright daffodils blooming by the roadside,
Their yellow heads nodding in the almost–April breeze.
How brave they are, these simple blossoms, to sleep for months
Beneath the frozen earth
And rise again, bold and early, into an uncertain spring.
I would be a daffodil at 40, bright and brave….and eager…
After the Winter.
I would write that poem on the corners of a drawing I presented toward my art degree, the center a detailed pencil rendering of my eye. Relected was the dining room where my children enjoyed their dinner, did their homework and created their own works of art. The assignment was: present a moment of your life.
I left the security of that life and started back to school in the Spring semester, just two days after my 40th birthday. I watched the daffodils surprise me, blooming in their unfamiliar locations, as I motored back and forth to classes…nearly a two-hour ride each way. By the time I graduated, I would know where every stand of daffodils slept the winter away along my growing-familiar path.
I would take the idea of being forty and build a short story around it, an offering toward my English degree. I called it “Leaving Jack Benny Behind.” The idea of being 40, an unsettling landmark for many, was the opposite for me. “There is such credibility in being forty,” I wrote. “No more smart remarks when asked your age at thirty-nine…yeah, right – you and Jack Benny!” I welcomed the milestone. (If you have to stop a moment and do a search on Jack Benny to understand the reference—good. Some things are meant to be remembered.)
That short story came in eighth out of thousands when my professor, a published author himself, entered it—unbeknownst to me—in a national writing contest. The drawing, stored in the attic of my “new” home (the first I had ever bought and occupied on my own with chicks in tow), was shredded by a visiting squirrel, bent on building a nest of her own. I have always wondered if there is something prophetic in that…as I have written more than I have drawn as I head toward the horizon of my life.
Back to my garden. I have irises sneaking a glance skyward…and the grass gets a little greener after each rain—or saber-rattling snow. And that is all it is at this point. Saber rattling. For April is just hours away as I write this on Easter Sunday…and the most well-intentioned snow flurry will not stand for long against the sweetness of April. Spring is here, you icy maiden. Take that.
Any day of the year is a day fraught with possibilities. But somehow they become easier to spy when the wind becomes a breeze and the sun shines warm on any upturned face. That is what I wish for you this Easter afternoon. Possibilities. Take stock of your life and your talents. Find some new roads to travel or repave the old. Look around as your roller coaster car moves to the hummock of the track. What will you be looking for as you reach the top? Where will you be heading as you start that exhilarating ride into a new season? A country western song tells us: “It’s the climb.” I would argue with that as I take in the view..I think it's the peak.
God’s greatest blessings on you this Easter Sunday. May the wood of His Cross send healing splinters into your hearts and give you peace. HHM
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3.31.13 Thank You, I loved that story. I love all your stories, they are so inspirational. You should write a book with all your stories in it. Also, I like your new website. Thank you for everything you do and the Eline. SM
4.1.13 Thanks for the latest Irish story. I am not a psychologist, but I think you share a deep sense of who you are in each story. Over the years, you have shared a collective amazing story. But especially, you are one who enjoys the renewal that Springtime brings ! I've noticed I spend too much time going thru the motions of embroidery and running a business. You point out the importance of daydreaming so we continue to find freshness in what we do. Thanks for the reminder. NS