More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.
-Ada Limón | Instructions on Not Giving Up
Despite what seemed like insurmountable odds, we've survived March. The back yard in the new house is muddy and overgrown and waiting for attention and time and sunshine, and I'm so excited to get to work back there that I could jump. I was out last week, raking away some of the dead grass and leaves so I could see what I'm really working with. In the process, I uncovered some worms, which Rowan found fascinating, touching them gently so they wriggled in my hand, and then told me were "dirt."
Over the course of the month, I've also fumbled my way into a new job, which has been simultaneously exhausting and rejuvenating. Exhausting because trying to fit work into Rowan's patient times is a struggle; rejuvenating because I feel like more myself again, interacting with other adults in the world. I'm learning a lot about the music industry in the process, which is a little bit old and a little bit new at the same time.
This past year has been like that, honestly. Things from my past are changing faster than I can keep up with (especially from far away) and visits to either of our homes are inevitably different every time they happen. Time stretches out ahead of us and behind us and it's hard to know where to put our feet, sometimes.
Yesterday, we took Rowan out to buy her first pair of hard-soled shoes. It was mid-winter when she started walking, and her first early spring steps on unpaved ground have been shaky and damp, so we packed off to the shoe store to get her fitted and into a pair of sneakers. She picked a pair of vibrant pink shoes and more or less refused to put them down until they were ready to go on her feet.
It's been one of those weeks where she discovers so many new things and spends so much time doing that it's hard for my heart to keep up. There's been so much to get done, it's easy to let the moments get away from me. Some of that is inevitable; even with dozens of photos a day and all the free time in the world, I'd never notice or remember everything (and even the photos can only do so much, even assuming the ever-growing sea of them is even navigable in the future). I try not to let that bother me too much, because to a large extent that's just how life works. But every now and again, I catch something: an attempt to put on her own shoes; her joy at a new book; her cheer of accomplishment when she masters a new skill. Her little life is full of miracles, so many of them it's almost impossible to see them all.
And really, aren't all lives? Every day is full of little miracles that have become utterly normal to us. The sun that rises, the warmth we wake up to, the love that reaches out to us whether we know about it or not. Leaving aside all the technological miracles of our lives: the fact that I can reach you instantaneously this morning, all over the world; the lights that turn on at a touch (or, increasingly, at a word); the supermarket full of food. These things we take for granted.