Today was a normal March day in my Denver garden. I took a short break from my work-from-home writing and editing to chat with a neighbor working in her garden. We admired the crocuses, pansies, dwarf iris, and mini daffodils gracing my front yard. She was trimming her ornamental grasses and cleaning up around the tulip sprouts that will start blooming in April.
Tomorrow will be another normal March day in my Denver garden. It’s supposed to snow. The forecast has intensified from a “watch” to a “warning” and the weather service is saying 4-8 inches are possible.
The flowers are facing the normal March challenges in Denver. The soil benefitted from our snowier than average February. And our March weather is the usual up-and-down dance from winter toward spring, sunny and snowy, warm and frosty, melting and muddy.
But there is nothing normal about this March in the human realm. As a word person (along with being a flower person), I am not prone to hyperbole. However, unprecedented does actually seem applicable for our current situation with the coronavirus pandemic.
So today, the storm clouds are rolling in as I write this. I am choosing to both look for the beauty in this day, and name the grief in this unprecedented season.
Beauty I experienced today: flowers blooming, green grass, children riding bikes and scooters, neighbors checking in with each other, birds singing, words and ideas coming together, stories being shaped.
Grief I am naming today: My daughter’s visit for this weekend cancelled – not being able to hug her and hang out together. Not being able to gather with family to mourn my sister-in-law’s death a few weeks ago (from a stroke, all the usual causes of death are still around too) – and not being able to console my brother-in-law in person as he has lost his wife of 58 years. Missing the ladies in my weekly Tai Chi class (we need to name the little griefs too!).
I have lived 60 years, and I know that grief and beauty are intertwined through all of our lives. I also have learned that each season of grief softens my heart toward others. As I experience the grief of human separation, may I be mindful of those who are separated from families because of borders and policies and wars and other tragedies.
So much more on my heart today – more beauty and more grief – and more feelings than words can express. May we all be mindful in these days as we walk toward spring, and as we walk through Lent and anticipate Easter. All the beauty and grief of this world, and the most beautiful of all is that we are not alone in our grief.