In the spring, I turn into an unashamed stalker. I drive up the hill and creep to a slow roll as my minivan approaches the bend entering my favorite park. Back in the days when I worked at the coffee shop at the base of the hill, I didn’t have to do this (these frequent drive-bys). Some of my coffee shop patrons were my informants. “You’ve got to get up there today!” they’d exclaim. Timing is crucial if you want to glimpse them at their peak…
There’s a brief but splendid window every spring when the hillside of Weeping Cherry trees is in full bloom. The beauty to behold there is magnificent. I have accumulated many beloved memories basking in the hillside glory… shared burrito picnics with a bestie, helping my son overcome his fear of bees as they are abuzz in the blooms, a sunshine-bathed nap with a newborn daughter.
The blooming season is short. So I take advantage of the moment when it arrives. It’s a seasonal echo of the gift we got in having a baby with a terminal diagnosis. Time was precious. The current moment paramount. We were pulled into the present, brief-blooming of her life with full attention of heart and mind and hope.
We ought to do that more often with our hope; just root it down-deep, right where we are in this present place/ moment/ season.
If I scan the hopes of my heart, it’s frustratingly true that the vast majority of them are anchored in the future-tense. Hope for the coming this or the redemption of that. How about the hope for the present… the fleeting now?
Hope to bask in the miraculousness of nature’s bounty.
Hope to breathe in the aroma of life ever-unfolding.
Hope to feel His warm presence in the breeze-dappled light streaming through bloom-coated tree branches.
Hope to make paramount what is here and now and right in front of me.
But hope is hard, especially in a life with diverse seasons. And frankly, it’s the pits that all of them aren’t just teeming with bloom.
Sometimes bees sting. Babies die. Relationships fail. Trust breaks. Enemies war. Health declines. Fears arise.
But praise God, the decomposing of life can make for fertile soil! While she’s ever-weeping, the cherry tree can still bloom. A broken world still is full of beautiful hillsides. Battlefields give birth to new heroes. An execution on a cross makes way for mankind’s rescue.
This is my prayer for you today: That joy springs up into this season. And if you have to, seek it! Let hope shape you into an unashamed stalker, pursuing the brevity of blooms, beholding His glory found in the ever-unfolding of now.
“Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.”
– Robert Frost, A Prayer in Spring