Just after lockdown began, I went for a run. I burst into tears as I ran by tulips that had just opened, and cherry trees in bloom. Their beauty was more than I could bear as I wondered, “Are we going to run out of food? We don’t have a survival plan. Are we all going to die? What does this mean for humanity?” Pink blossoms quivered in sunlight, and I wept.
That was almost a year ago. Flowers and sky, sunshine and water got me through a lot of the pandemic in 2020. When fall arrived, and flowers dropped, and leaves dropped, and temperatures dropped, we moved indoors. I watched the world turn brown. We got snow, which is pretty, and ice, which is pretty, but the winter world is cold and desolate, and after nearly a year of no socializing, no meals in restaurants, no coffee dates with my husband, after nearly a year of all four of us being in the house together, after a year of watching terrible things happen to Black men and women and immigrants and their children, and people dying by the tens of thousands, and ugliness and lies and meanness and vitriol coming from our president, I felt cold and desolate too. And in winter, there are not flowers and sky, sunshine and water to get me through.
Until yesterday. After four weeks of snow storms and ice storms and temperatures consistently below freezing, the sun came out and shone warm. It melted the snow and ice. It warmed the ground. I put on short sleeves to run, and I felt sun on my skin. I smelled the scent of thawing dirt as I ran. I felt heat radiate from the asphalt. I ran under blue sky.
When I returned home, I walked across our lawn, still panting from my run, to check on the bulbs our mail carrier gave us from her garden. Last year they bloomed February 13. I’ve checked them every week in February, through snow and ice, and finally, yesterday, they bloomed.
With these little flowers, I feel a release. I feel like I can make it now. The world around me is thawing. We have a kind and compassionate leader who acknowledges the hurt of the world and wants to help heal it. In a few weeks I will have my annual gardening vacation, where I spend an entire week outdoors, cutting, pruning, shoveling mulch. Soon I will be able to sit on the back deck in the sunlight and watch the world come back to life.