"Time stands still in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." ~ Brian Andreas
The dogwoods are blooming.
The lilacs, the redbuds, cherry and apple blossoms have burst onto our scene. Spring is in a full bloom of color and I'm chasing it like it might never happen again . . . trying not to miss it.
It's important to think this way. I learned this lesson some years back when I woke up one hapless late November morning and realized I had missed Autumn. Completely missed it. I had been slogging through the annual education grind of data analysis and reading assessments and equitable grouping and the training of new teachers. Then one morning the trees were bare and I wondered, When did that happen?
I had missed the first cooling breezes of a balmy Michigan summer for the late hours of an air conditioned office in Detroit. I had missed the magenta morning skies against flaming trees and ignored the wind-blasted, sideways gusts of golden poplar leaves across highways as I phoned home my guilty ETA. I had missed the comforting hush of dusky, waning fireplace evenings and the glow of a harvest moon for the rush of unforgiving deadlines. I had missed everything between the first dazzle of color and up to the November guests. I had missed the thankful . . . the joy.
I hated that I missed it. It had been the simplest, most glorious gift to overlook . . . It was like my soul was choking and I simply forgot to breathe.
Since then I have vowed never to forget . . . to remember the gifts of every season . . . to chase leaves and chase a full moon with free abandon. I chase barns all red and rustic telling the history of the humble and hardworking . . . and I chase sweet, blue-eyed babies across the country. I chase morning glories and mountain paths, waterfalls, and the glinted edges of wine glasses . . . up-close flower faces in bold colored vases . . scarlet sunsets . . . falling snow against twilight sky . . . ocean waves . . . the winding of rivers . . . and the holiness of Words . . .
I chase these things . . . freeze them for a sacred second in the cruelty of time . . . and offer them back to the world. Have you noticed how I chase?
If you've forgotten how to do it . . . or don't remember ever doing it . . . have lost your childlike wonder to the ravages of time and later . . . Later was yesterday . . .
Find something beautiful . . . something that tugs at your soul . . . Intentionally, unabashedly, unapologetically chase it down. Wait for it. Look for it. Or just stop when you accidentally stumble upon it. But when you find it --you'll know it because it used to be yours - - give it your full attention. Now look at it . . . and learn to play . . . like a grown-up. Honor its curves and its lines and its energy. Find its name (that beautiful lavender bush is actually a dogwood tree;). Give your pursuit of it a name . . . Like moonchasing or barnstalking . . . Dogwooding? Celebrate it every time it comes around. Memorize how the light plays off its color at different hours of the day. Angle yourself just right above or below it . . . as close as you can or from a reverent distance . . . but build a relationship with it . . . and remember it . . . trade your own importance for it and lose yourself in it.
It helps to have a friend or two willing to indulge your crazy . . . As in the case of my barnstalking whimsy last summer . . . Someone needed to be driving the getaway car when I may . . . or may not;) . . . have trespassed on private property to get that perfect shot of the antique barn over the bridge with the billowing clouds reflecting in the water. Someone needed to be tied to my innertube when the river slowed to a crawl and the only thing left to do was squint into the sun and kick up our feet against the loveliness of blue-green . . . and simply remember . . . Someone needed to witness the rare in the bluebird flitting among the low branches . . . the fleeting wonders of the running path . . . the one that got away before we could snap the memory . . . But it's there . . .
Friends don't let friends chase alone.
Find your dogwood . . . and a little joy this week . . . before the bloom gets away and you have to wait til next year. Next year is not a promise. Have a simple adventure. Feed your soul.
Chase the dogwood.