Picking flowers in March

As we struggle to deal with the weather outside, Fiona offers this tale from Easter; a memory of spring to warm us on the inside…

Ok. It was April. I’m going for dramatic effect. Because, you know, there are *so* many more flowers in Newfoundland in April than there are in March. Snicker.

I guess the crocuses have appeared and there might be a tulip or two peeking out of the ground in the city. But I can assure you that in Central Newfoundland at our cabin in the woods over Easter weekend nar a bulb had appeared. Any green was last year’s moss. Shades of brown and grey abound.

But my darling daughter announced after Easter Dinner that she would like to go for a walk and pick some flowers. We were all glutted on ham and not about to explain/argue with her that there weren’t actually any flowers in the woods. We were only just seeing earth from under the snow. No one was prepared to incur the four year-old chocolate-infused wrath that might ensue. The fact she could ride her scooter up and down the bridge was due in part to the fact that I had shoveled the snow off.

So off for a walk to “pick flowers” we all went. I suspect we were all, in fact, quite happy to stroll in the fresh air that was starting to taste just a teeny bit of spring, and marvel at the fact that it was still wonderfully sunny at 7:00pm. After our miserable days of winter hibernation at 4:30pm this was a welcome change. We were happy to walk together despite the fact that we had no belief that we were actually going to pick any flowers. In fact my jokester brother climbed the ladder attached to the box car we use as a storage shed and proclaimed ‘Nope! No flowers up here!’

Giggles followed from darling daughter and on we continued.

A world unfolding

But as we started to walked, we started to notice. Now that our attention had been drawn to the “flowers”, we began to observe the vegetation. Dried buds remained clinging to last year’s stems. Fireweed purple flowers turned to fine fibres and tangle a beautiful golden. Sweet pea pods lie slightly furry and greyed. A pinecone attached to the end of a branch is the ultimate treasure as it resembles a brown rose bud. It will never open and bloom, but similarly will never fade or droop. Yellow grasses, weeds and seeds. And the one new “bloom” for the season: the pussy willows were opening.

Because she has no expectation, she is open to all things. All suggestion and beauty and wonder are possible in her world.

The freshness of spring has opened my eyes in more ways than one. What other things does she see because she isn’t bound by the years of accommodation and assimilation and expectation? Because she has no expectation, she is open to all things. All suggestion and beauty and wonder are possible in her world. And, what other opportunities has she presented to me that I have closed off in my busy-ness and preoccupation and worldly notions? Of course groceries must be bought and meals prepared and laundry folded – but her joy is in the now, the moment. Those moments will pass and fade as surely as her next birthday will arrive and the wonderment of childhood will slip away with the passing days. Should I not tend to the preciousness and delicacies of those moments NOW, her pre-operational world will indeed vanish and not only her world but mine too will wind up deprived through my lack of attention to its magic. She will land soon enough in the ability to form abstract thought, problem-solve and use deductive logic. But right now her inability to do so is the joy in our lives. What can I learn from her open mind and boundless freedom of thought?

While I owe it to her to pay attention to her world, I also owe it to myself.

We often marvel at the accomplishments of young people making marvelous contributions to our world, coming up with incredible new ideas and solutions to entrenched problems. They don’t know enough to know that their idea will fail, and thus not to try; therefore they succeed. We are each only bound by our own minds. I vow to encourage my child’s limitlessness despite my own hesitations, and have her never see my doubt. For those who say it can’t be done should stand aside for those who are doing it.

These dead, dried weeds from the side of the road are her treasure. I can’t wait to see what other unexpected joys her life will bring.

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