It’s that time of year when I go hunting for spring, checking every corner for it the way Frog and Toad did in their Adventures.
We have a patch of early bulb shoots, but our yard stands blank compared to Papa Larry’s. I worked in his front gardens yesterday afternoon, straightening up soil fencing with a mallet and tucking mulch around a dozen iris and lily sprouts. Mist sat in the crooks of the trees. Papa worried it was too cold for me, but I came anyway, itching for more proof that winter can’t win— and I found it in bundles of butter-yellow daffodils. Against the slate sky, they glowed. And these are just the heralds. They’ll peak right around Nanny’s birthday, which, I just realized, will land on Good Friday this year, when we remember a death but only because it destined all creation for life.
“Everyone thinks of winter the way they think of aging— in terms of death,” Papa Larry said to me later in his room, surrounded by bookcases sagging with books (a few of which he’s written himself), his window settled over the front garden.
“But I’ve come to think of winter, not as a period, but as a comma.”
Nanny’s ballcaps hang over his closet, her picture sits on his desk, and her daffodils break from their tombs out his window. They were her favorite flower, maybe because they reminded her of the life that’s promised, that always wins, that will rise up on the other side of winter’s sleep.
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep…
“And the dead in Christ will rise first.”
– 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, 16b