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Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Nature often gives us spiritual lessons. Last Sunday in meeting someone spoke about the hope she sensed from seeing the sprouting crocuses and blooming witch hazel on her way through the garden. Certainly spring is the season of hope and new life. Falling leaves always remind me of the cyclical nature of things, the need for times of retraction as well as expansion. So today it is slippery out—the sidewalks coated with sleet, snow, and rain—and it seems a fitting reminder of how precarious our walk on this earth is.

I have a good friend whose mother is dying. Four times now the doctors have told her the end was near, only to have her mother rebound. Talking to her reminds me of those unpredictable days near my mother’s end when I couldn’t plan more than an hour at a time. Intellectually I know that life is always unpredictable, that anyone I love could die at any time, but most days I don’t walk around thinking about it. I believe the occasional reminder is healthy; it puts the inconvenience of a slushy day into perspective, as well as the inconvenience of the 24 hour flu.

None of us has caught the flu this year, though I am starting to brace myself. Half of my son’s class has been out in the past few days, as well as a few of my daughter’s friends and one of her teachers. In my college class, the students are taking turns sending fever-induced e-mails that explain their absences. All this sickness has got me writing on the calendar a little less boldly, just in case one of us wakes up with a fever, and I have to scratch whatever I had planned to tend to myself or my children. Last Saturday a mother called to cancel her son’s birthday party due to a 102 fever. Again, such things can happen any time, but February seems to be a month where we get frequent reminders.

It’s nice to hear the political pundits for once admitting that they have no idea what is going to happen. A year ago they seemed so sure they could script this presidential race. I love that the voters aren’t sticking to the script. (Even seemingly unbeatable candidates can slip in the polls.) Like the sprouting crocus, the growing electorate gives me hope. Still, there’s no guarantee things will go the way I want. That’s the reminder of this weather—no guarantees. No guarantee you’ll be able to do something simple, like crossing the street, without landing on your back, which happened yesterday to a friend from the coffee shop. Instead of making me anxious or overly cautious, I want this weather to remind me to be more alert and open to whatever happens next.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, February is a month when "such things" can happen ... February is the month when my son died from the flu. I would suggest that you have your children vaccinated. Sometimes it is wise to be anxious and overly cautious, Eileen.

7:27 PM  

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