Every spring there are two sights to which I look forward. One is the violets in April; the other is white blossoms on the trees by the golf course in Seneca Park. I can’t do them justice with words, so I won’t try to describe their beauty, but I may give how they make me feel a shot. When I see the specific blue purple of the violets, I’m moved with a joy inside my chest that makes me want to tear up. I’ve never experienced the feeling of a color so vividly. When I see tree after tree, lining the golf course, blooming in white, I am overwhelmed by a feeling of awe.
I know that nature brings out these feelings in many people and that I am not unique in my experience. What stands out for me though, is the feeling that immediately follows the joy and awe. My whole heart aches with longing. A longing that comes from knowing the violets and the white blossoms won’t last. A yearning to keep them for as long as I can, to be in the moment, and then, to see them again. I long to see them again, even as I am seeing them in the present. It’s like a prayer to be gifted that time…one more time.
It’s especially poignant to me this spring. Having lost my dad in the fall, I wonder if there were beautiful things he experienced, and in those moments, wished fervently to experience again – just once more. It’s clearer now that eventually there will come a time when the violets and the trees will bloom without me. There will be a time where I yearn to experience the joy and awe again, but where it will be my last. And the thing is, I won’t know. Just as he didn’t know. So, the experience of these moments of beauty, encompasses not only the happiness, but the sadness as well. It’s like grieving something you hold in your hands, while it’s in your hands because you know it will disappear.
The other evening, I was talking to a friend about time and we played with the idea that time wasn’t linear and everything was happening all at once. My experience of the violets and the white blossoms pulled that idea from a conversation into reality for me. All at once on my walk yesterday, I was experiencing them for the first time, being present with them in the moment, saying goodbye to them, and longing to see them again.
Today, reflecting, I can’t help but connect that to missing my dad. When I was in college, I watched the movie Shadowlands. There is a quote that C.S. Lewis says, “What I am trying to say is that the pain then is part of the happiness now. That’s the deal.” I guess that is the deal. I’m feeling the loss and yearning to see him again and that hurts, oh so bad, but there is comfort in the lessons of violets and blossoms. A comfort that comes from knowing the experience of loving him in the moments isn’t really gone. Our walks, his eyes, his voice, his hands, his unconditional love – It’s all really happening all at once. I just need to see the experience of his love as whole.