Today I spent some time outside, which is where I feel closest to God. (If I turn out to be wrong about cosmology and my Buddhist friend is right, I’m pretty sure I’ll discover that I was a Druid in a previous existence.) As I walked, I contemplated hope, Rufus, what I’d write in this blog post.
Then a burst of color caught my eye: a tree that was totally bare except for one exuberant flare of lacy leaves.
I remember this tree from last summer and summers past, covered in cascades of those gorgeous leaves, mesmerizing me with the tones and patterns and textures every time I walked past. So beautiful I gave up trying to capture it in photos and began to just cherish it in the moments. And here was the tree, sending me a little reminder of what was to come.
That led me to think, cliched as it might sound, about seasons: how in the fall things die, and in the winter things are dead, except that’s only on the surface. All those bare branches are protecting life throughout the harsh, cold months, and when spring rolls around, life reappears. It’s there even when we can’t see it.
I want to think I’ve been moving through the November and December and January of my life and that spring is starting. Nothing’s burst into bloom yet, but my allergies are letting me know it’s about to happen. A few shoots are emerging, brave pioneers venturing out to test the air and the wind. Maybe I’m stepping into my spring, and soon an extravagant festival of brilliant blossoms will unfurl over all the branches that look bleak and bare now.
Lest I end on too serious a note, I’ll add that in the past four days, I’ve heard “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey three times. Yeah, I sometimes listen to a classic rock station in the car, but it still seems like a message. And as I drove home today, “Living on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi came on, and doing my worst hair-metal impression at the top of my lungs, I realized that, too, is a song about hope — about holding onto love when you have nothing else, about clinging to what’s worth fighting for.