Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The ephemeral nature of life

When I was 9 and my older sister was 12, we were hit by a car. I was reminded of this recently when standing at a downtown corner, waiting for a light to change to cross the street. I was, apparently, just a wee step too close to the street. A giant pickup whizzed by so fast and so close that I felt its after-effect ruffle my coat. Lost in thought until that moment, I realized how fast and furious life is and how quickly all things can change with just one misstep. I shivered from the thought.

Another season has begun in the garden and already the stunning orange fritillaria bells are fading and withering. Peonies are beginning to bud and will burst forth their silky pink petals soon, so very soon. The Siberian Iris, so delicate, are here and gone in a sliver of time--I am already anticipating their blue. Sometimes I almost can't bear the ephemeral nature of the garden. So much beauty, so lovely, so short lived. I want to hold onto it always: at night, waking. At work in the midst of chaos. Here in the quiet of the house in the late evening when the garden is cloaked in darkness. 

Every now and then I think about that day so long ago when my sister lay in the street, hit straight on while I, just two steps behind her, was skimmed by the car. It sent me tumbling backwards and gave me nothing more than a set of scraped knees. Elizabeth lay in traction in the hospital and then months in bed in a full body cast for a leg broken in two places. How lucky we were and how differently it could have turned out.

Today I spotted the miniature tulips I've been waiting for. They are bright carmine, hot flames of red, markers of time, spring's sweet ephemeral glory. 

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