January 23, 2018
Spring is my magic time of year. It is awakenings and rebirths and with every purple crocus cresting from the moistened earth I see hope and promise. And then there is the red breasted Robin who sings before the first glimpse of dawn, a portend that the sun will soon rise to warm the chill off the early days of spring and to remind me to have faith, for the Robin does not see the light yet chirps its happy tune in expectation and from a place of all knowing. Something I gleaned from a quote by the beautiful and great Nobel Prize winning poet Rabindranath Tagore.
So is spring to me, fresh and new and budding with opportunity so when the days get longer and the thermometer’s climb I start to feel an inkling of sadness as that freshness and newness is passing too quickly and along with its passing I can’t help but have fleeting moments of the feeling of loss.
It was on such a day that I was standing outside my apartment in my little city by the sea. I had forgotten my keys and was waiting for someone to drop the spare set off. I wasn’t really sure whom it was going to be as my husband had arranged it from where he was at work. While wiling away the minutes, eyes fixed on the book I was reading at the time, I heard a gentle little honk of a car horn. As I looked up my father-in-law was stepping out of his red beat up jalopy, that impish grin on his face and a friendly glint in his eye. My father-in-law and I had a comfortable enough relationship but neither of us were big talkers. He did know though, as interested parents do, about my life before meeting and marrying his step-son and I felt he was always a little protective of me. I had always thought of him as a magic man because he had a mystical air about him but I didn’t know until a few minutes later the exact nature of his magic. I rose from where I had been sitting on the front steps of the condo and we met half way and it just so happened that we ended up standing just underneath a Japanese cherry tree. These were abundant in my neighbourhood and lined the streets up and down on both sides, their blossoms like delicate flossy puffs along the branches.
We chatted for a minute or two and I guess he could tell by my demeanor that I was a little dejected. I thought that he might have remembered my feelings about spring and that the reason I was feeling a bit down was that spring was coming to a close but you see, it wasn’t only the end of Spring that was on my mind but I was suffering from one of my terrible depressions and “the end” of everything was on my mind.
We stood under the cherry tree in awkward silence until Nelson broke it by clearing his throat which made me look up and as I glanced at his face my gaze rested on his eyes which were both smiling and dancing and then he spoke, “Want to see something really neat?” he asked. Not waiting for an answer my sixty-something father-in-law scrambled up into the cherry tree, limb over limb, and when he reached the centre he looked down at me like a precocious six year old. “Look up and keep looking up and don’t close your eyes.” he instructed. I did what I was told and Nelson started shaking the branches and suddenly I was in the midst of an elegant shower of beautiful, baby pink petals. They fluttered all around catching in my hair and landing gently on my clothing. I grinned at first and then broke out into a huge smile and finally I was giggling and laughing like a little school girl. I started to twist and spin as I looked up and Nelson was laughing with me. It was magic. I felt exhilarated and refreshed as if my darkened spirit had been bathed in that beautiful shower of spontaneity, sweetness and joy. That day I was able to capture a glimpse of the innocence of childhood I never really knew and I believe that gift of love and light was sent to me through my father-in-law by the Divine. It has helped me realize how the simplest things can have huge impacts and to not take for granted the beauty of the world around me. I smile even more now when spring rolls around and the cherry blossoms start to bloom on the trees, in fact I smile more period because someone took the time to help bring back my smile and now I do the same for others when I can. If that message had been lost on me that day the experience would have still been wonderful but to be able to pass it on, that is the beauty of the gift I received that day, my ability to give and to do so without expectation or condition and purely for the joy it brings others. Inversely it brings joy to me and I am the one who benefits the most when all is said and done.
Erin Phelan Fletcher
~ “You can always give something, even if it is only kindness” ~ Anne Frank