This winter was the most difficult. There was the sickness, then the other sickness, then the injury, then more sickness, the neverending sickness. I blamed all that illness on the fact that I’d been indoors for the last fifteen years, while the bacteria and viruses mutated to defeat immunities I wouldn’t be building. The war between humanity and germ went on without me. When I resurfaced and rejoined the human race, I was defenseless. The miasma pounced and devoured me.
When the first buds appeared on the ends of hibernating branches, the long, cold winter’s grip on my soul loosened slightly. It was as if spring was being invented for the first time, drawn up from utopian plans of what a better world might look like, by a starry-eyed romantic, naively dreaming that everything dead might live again.
The buds became blooms, like slow-motion fireworks, they burst on the brown and the gray like pink and white phosphorous. Searing hope into my heart.
After the blossoms came the leaves. Already the cherry outside my window’s shed the sakura and the burgundy leaves reach out to the light that only graces this side street for an hour a day, in the late morning, before the sun moves on to briefly warm the dentist’s office across the street.
How I survived this winter, I’m not sure. I lost faith, I lost friends, I lost hope more times than I cared to count.
In the fluffy-cloud-filtered light of spring, I can see all that I’ve gained, like a branch gathers moss and lichen: a few extra pounds, a weary attitude, a new-found appreciation of my couch.
Life doesn’t stand still, though. Like the sap running again through the trees, the blood runs again through my limbs. That joyful feeling reminds me I still remember how to run and play, no matter how much my joints ache; that a thunderstorm drenches me just as deeply when my eyes look up to meet the sky as it does when I hang my head in submission; that everything I’ve lost, and I’ve lost a lot in my life, makes way for something new.
When I make room in my life for what comes next, I find that the same precious feelings are invoked. I still remember how to believe, how to love, how to trust.
In the poetry of spring, the subject changes, but the stanzas continue to rhyme.