Watching spring burst into life in Switzerland this March was a privilege that I had never experienced before in this way. Growing up in Northern Florida there were really only two seasons, ugly hot, and slightly chilly. When I lived in Brooklyn, although there were real seasons, I still didn’t experience spring this way. When spring came in Brooklyn the park employees planted fresh flowers and the street pots were filled the same. It was beautiful as well, but it didn’t feel natural. It wasn’t the beautifully wild rebirth I experienced in the past month.
The family I nanny for has a fairly large back yard. I remember one of the first warmer days walking through the back gate and seeing the small yellow, purple and blue flowers peeking through the grass. Soon followed by dandelions and daffodils springing into life again as they had every year since the previous home owner planted their first seed. I looked up and saw the apple tree blooming tiny flowers, and the cherry tree by the swing set was beginning to flower. At home as I looked out the kitchen window I could see the yellow flowers budding on the tree across the drive way. It was like magic. I would catch myself smiling at the beauty of it all as I rode my bike to the train station or sat on a bench in the park waiting for the children to finish school.
Then before I knew it the voice of winter blew again. I was shocked at the forecast of snow that my mother in law told me was coming our way. I’ve never paid much mind to weather forecast because I prefer the unpredictability of the weather. I like planning a picnic on Saturday and hoping for sunshine rather than speculating the whole week about whether or not the weather was going to ruin my fun.
But the snow did come, not that weekend as predicted but the following Wednesday. Glad I didn’t cancel my BBQ Friday night. The snow persisted to lightly cover the ground for a couple of days before disappearing again. One week later, today, it snowed again. As I walked into town, the flowers drooped and the many of buds on the apple orchard trees had fallen to the ground.
Life can be unexpectedly unpleasant at times. A good day can turn sour at the click of an email, ring of a phone, or glance at a newspaper. It happens that fast. I am reminded again of the message from a friend that led to the discovery of one of my best friend’s suicide last September. One moment I was laughing while carrying in the left over chips from our backyard BBQ the next I was frantically calling Becky hoping for to hear her voice on the other end and then searching Facebook in hopes that the rumors weren’t true.
In the times of the unexpected, whether it be tragic such as my friend’s death or unpleasant like snow at the end of April, I don’t want to forget the unexpected joys of life. Like opening the email offering me the job in Brooklyn, the text from my best friend showing her engagement ring, turning the corner in central park to see my now husband standing by a castle to ask me to marry him, or walking through the back gate and seeing the small yellow, purple and blue flowers peeking through the grass.
As Annie once said, “the sun’ll come out tomorrow.” That’s where my mind is today as I sit outside with hands like popsicles typing this, marveling at the unexpected things in life, both the good and the bad, and being reminded of the hope that I have for a better tomorrow.