Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Nothing Gold Can Stay: A Catalog

We've seen crocuses and narcissus come and go here in North Carolina. The hyacinth and tulips too. The yellow forsythia have gone for now and the bradford pears have greened. The apple blossoms, sadly, are gone. The dogwood and redbud - those champions of spring - are fading into anonymity on the side of the road and the edges of our lawns. Still now we can point and recognize and say - that's a dogwood, there's a redbud. But soon my sons and daughters will finger the leaves and trace tortured bark and ask what these trees are, and I will scratch my head and shrug. Summer's amnesia. My memory is floral.

My azaleas, bigger than Toyotas, are teaching me this year, this moment, what an azalea was meant to be. They are dressed in vestments of joy and I must cross myself whenever I pass by them - heavy pink blooms with barely a hint of the green rhododendron leaves beneath.

The crepe myrtles are budding tiny red leaves, tuning up for their mid- to late-summer symphony. The Nikko Blue has two great babies waiting for replanting, leaves are green and fresh and she whispers patience and hope.

I've planted another rosebush and pruned the old one down. Ripped up weeds and pruned and pruned. But there are still weeds in need of pulling, and bushes and trees in need of pruning.

Gerbera line the front steps and balloons of fuschia are brilliantly popping into purple blooms over the porch.

But then, "Leaf subsides to leaf." They all dim and die. That's part of their lesson. The gospel is there, too, and they live it annually, perennially. Resurrection, they sing. They trumpet it. And as they preach, I am changed; and though they die, I am changed. They convert me. In another millennium or two, I shall be a saint.


Dan said...

Thanks, Scott...beautiful writing, and it's great to hear your voice again. We've had glimpses of the promise of spring, but are enveloped in a rainy, foggy in-between-time right now.

Hope springs eternal...

kkollwitz said...

Wow... that was terrific. I live in Greenville SC, and am tethered to the seasons as well. How many more springs before I'm gone, how many Falls?

kkollwitz said...

Your post reminds me of a bit I wrote in 2008 as part of a longer piece about my daughters:

...I stepped out one morning to pick up the paper, stepped out into a perfect muted Fall morning: gently grey sky, leaves past their prime; cool, damp air. Now, I associate with Autumn, not just death in general, but my own death in particular. For decades I've had the expectation that I'll die in late Fall, the cusp of Winter, while reading a book in the bedroom, in a red sweater, with the window open enough to feel the cool air and hear the crows & bluejays complaining....