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.