I used to love getting lost in big cities. I would set out by foot on a free day and hop subways or buses along the way, exploring until my blood sugar was low and the sky went from blue to orange. Grabbing a cheap non-sweet iced tea and watching / wondering in Central Park; hiking King Arthur in Edinburgh to read a passage by Sir William Scott; taking 45 pictures with my 6.0 megapixels point-and-shoot, of tired boats at the end of the day in Santorini…
In contrast, when I lived in London for a (kind of lonely) year, I would sometimes take random bus rides to their last stops, cross the street, and head back home in time for a late supper, quick call to future-Husband, and then sleep. I got lost a couple times when the route was tricky, or when I didn’t pay good enough attention…and instead of embracing the rush that comes with being lost in a big city, I would let my eyes mist over and eventually ask a stranger for help. My fingers and toes were always cold that year, and my knees seemed to always be tired.
The same activity is hardly ever the same experience, and the fall from whimsical, romantic experiences can be shocking, if not seemingly cruel.
Allergies aside, most people would say that they love the springtime: flowers! warmth! sundresses! Most people, except maybe T.S. Eliot?
“April is the cruellest month, breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing / Memory and desire, stirring / Dull roots with spring rain.” (Eliot, The Wasteland)
This past April was a complicated month for us. We closed the door on a family vision towards which we had been working for 3+ years. Coming home to Texas was right, and therefore good, but it was complicated. We started again, and we started over. Like soil getting overturned with spring rain – mixed, stirred, and offered a promise to sprout again.
“Winter kept us warm, covering / Earth in forgetful snow, feeding / A little life with dried tubers.” (Eliot)
My mother-in-law is a Master Gardener who is really skilled at coaxing beautiful growth out of tangled dirt. She recently told me that even her most dependable perennials have only ever lasted three years, and that they have never bloomed the same across their lifetimes.
In the 100 degree heat of this June week, I have loved thinking about how winter keeps those perennials in Mama L’s garden warm, even if it’s for their three years of life. The cold still covers them, and forces them to huddle under the earth as if to regroup before springtime.
Maybe it is like how our time in China was hard, but it was good because it pushed us together as a new family to create huddled memories.
Maybe all things have to end and start again, because we would hold on too tightly to it all – both the beautiful and the bad – if it just went on for forever.
We planned an outdoor wedding to take place at the end of December. I’m not sure what made us confident enough to take on such a big gamble with Texas weather, but once we set the date, the most that we could do was hope for spring, in winter.
Photo credit: Jordan Quinn Photography
The day ended up being 70 and sunny without a cloud in the sky. I like it even more, though, that we started our lives as husband and wife in the hope of winter. I like it even more still, that we landed back in Texas in time for our second spring.
Here’s to napping!