Thursday, March 22, 2012

Never Too Old to Blossom

The closer I creep to forty, the more I see time's etchings on my physical body. Just last week, I looked down at my hands to discover the rivers of raised blue veins and caterpillar-wrinkled knuckles more pronounced than I remembered. As my daughter touched a scar, I thought, "These are my mother's hands."

Then, those few icy strands that started when I put husband through law school, those two above my right brow--they began multiplying like rabbits. I'd pull a few out each night before bed only to return the next evening and find more had taken their place. The glimmer of translucent strands is glaringly obvious in my near-ebony curls. Finally, I had to tell husband, "I'm going gray. And I don't know what to do about it."

How can you feel old at thirty-five? This is the prime of life. I may have only recently passed the first third of life. Yet, the signs have weighed on me over the past few months and not because of my hands or hair.

Mostly, it's been the pain, three months of this can-do-anything woman spending hours each week in physical therapy working through bursitis and a pinched nerve. Each week, I've lifted weights and pulled elastic bands alongside fellow sufferers, all but two of whom have been over sixty. As husband has lovingly rubbed my shoulder down most nights with medicine that made me smell like his Maw Maw, the thought that I could feel this way till I die has been terrifying.


Fast forward to today, which marked the start of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C. One hundred years ago in 1912, Japan gifted America with 3,000 cherry blossom trees.

Last fall, my mother decided with my brother living in D.C., this was the year for her to finally see the trees in bloom. Yesterday and today were considered "peak" days, meaning that at least 70% of the blossoms were open. And oh were they ever.The trees were glorious, a solid ring of pink and white surrounding the lake in front of the Jefferson Memorial. Some branches were covered so densely in blossoms, it was impossible to see the woody branch beneath the fluffy petals; one simply had to trust by faith that the underlying structure was there.Each time a bird lit on a branch, the petals would shake down like pale snow, reminding me that such beauty is fleeting. Yet, whether trampled beneath my feet on the dirt path, floating atop the lake, or still attached to the tree, the flowers were beautiful, ethereal. And then I came to some of the oldest trees, their trunks gnarled and pitted in obvious testament to their age.

What amazed me was that the new growth wasn't the only part of the tree graced with blossoms. Even on those ugly trunks, blossoms still formed and bloomed.

I sure hope God isn't calling me an old, gnarled trunk. But I get His point, even if I had to drive seventeen hours to hear it.

Until I am cut down, I am still part of the vine. I can still bud, bloom, and bear fruit. Such is where my true beauty lies...if I can only stop plucking the gray hairs long enough to see it.

1 comment:

  1. Don't pluck: you'll have gaps in your hair! (Trust me: I know!) Color! You're still young, and you were so near me today; I'm outside of Richmond. I'll be praying about your aches and pains!