Two weeks ago, I was out for a walk over lunch at my office. I work on a beautiful campus that is surrounded by nature. On the walk, the trees were just beginning to burst with chartreuse leaves. The air that day was filled with the scent of spring. Fresh. New. Revived. I reveled in the sun beating down on my black tropical wool dress and warming my soul. After a long winter, I breathed in the rebirth of nature and exhaled the biting darkness past.
Last week the crabapple trees burst open with blooms. White, purple, and pink. Each day as I drove through the lined drive, I thought, “You should stop and snap a picture so you can remember this.” A reason not to stop was always ready when the idea entered my mind. “What would people think if they saw me? I’m running late. I can do it tomorrow.” Each day I soaked in the beauty noting the small shifts from day to day. Saturday the crabapple in our front yard was at the perfect peak of blossoms. Without my glasses on it might have looked like it was blanketed in snow, but instead they were soft white petals.
We had big windy thunderstorms blow through on Sunday. As I wound through the driveway to the parking garage Monday morning, I felt pangs of sadness. With the powerful storms, the crabapple trees had been defiled. The grandeur of days before had disappeared with a trail of evidence blanketing the ground.
Everything in life is temporary. The blooms of the season last two weeks. The tree in my front yard will likely be there for the next fifty years. Duration varies, but it is still just temporary.
I’m really kicking myself for not stopping to enjoy the beauty, but it is just trees and the blossoms will be back again next spring. I’m tucking the lesson away, because there are times where life is fleeting or opportunities momentary. Sometimes there are second chances and seasons to come, but other times there aren’t and a last has transpired (sometimes before we even know it.)
Sunday’s thundershowers translated to stormy attitudes at home. Everybody was wearing on everybody else’s last nerve. I figuratively wanted to murder my family, simply to be alone. In a passing text exchange, I shared this feeling with a friend (who encouraged me to take care of myself by going for a walk or reading a book or doing something just for me. Wise, that one.) Monday morning there was an e-mail asking if my day was better than the day before.
The question tumbled around my head. Was Monday better than Sunday? What a conundrum as a working mom? While there was certainly less whining and begging at work on Monday. There also were fewer smiles, less laughter, and not my favorite people. As a new dawn broke Monday morning, it was a new day and a new beginning. We all started fresh. Just as fleeting as the blossoming crabapple, I was glad that my feelings of frustration are temporary too.
Each day has 86,400 seconds to be used how ever we choose. We can stop and soak up the beauty around us. We can harbor frustration against the ones we love. We can accept fresh starts. We decide, but those seconds are ephemeral and we don’t get them back.
What are you choosing today?