In a matter of two weeks, the creek Tasha and I walk along has sprung back to life, gone from stark and drab to vibrant and lively. Tiny purple clover has popped up amongst the blades of grass; my garden-savvy facebook friends identified redbud for me, abloom amongst the trees and the trees themselves have gone from the first signs of new-growth buds along their branches to a youthful riot of fresh green leaves. Primroses are appearing as well as small, delicate ferns; mayflies are pestering me as Tasha and I stroll and soon, I believe we’ll see dragonflies at the end of the creek. At least in North Central Texas, Spring is here, the world is coming back to life and I think how much Jeff loved this time of year.
Jeff gave up driving in the year before he died, but I or his daughter, JoAnna, might’ve gotten him out in the Van of Terror (as I called it) and driven somewhere we could see a goodly number of Bluebonnets along the way. We would’ve reminisced about the years when we were young parents and plopped our toddlers into a pile of them, snapping pictures that, when sent to distant friends or relatives, gave no hint that they were actually taken along the John Carpenter Freeway, with cars speeding by. We would have given thanks for Lady Bird Johnson and her zeal for Texas wildflowers.
He and I would have discussed lighter, more vegetable-based recipes and planned trips to the Coppell or Dallas Farmer’s Markets. It wouldn’t matter which – Jeff would’ve run into one or a dozen people he knew, somehow, someway. He would’ve conversed with the Hispanic vendors in Spanish and his joy in the produce would’ve charmed all and sundry. If it was Coppell, we would’ve gone to the Coppell Deli and indulged in a Stubb’s Special breakfast sandwich: eggs, bacon, sausage and cheese on Texas toast and totally worth the heartburn that followed. It’s a breakfast sandwich that holds one contentedly until dinner time.
I would stroll and he would roll along and we might have discussed Rush Limbaugh’s latest verbal gaffe, the all-too-tiresome primary season and our Lenten disciplines or rather, his Lenten discipline and my total and complete lack thereof.
Spring is sprung and I rejoice in the cardinals, robins and tiny warbling songbirds along the creek, marvel at the female hawk who landed not two feet away from me some days ago, and I miss telling my friend about all of it and wish he were here to witness it. I know he’s in a better place, finally free of pain and able to breathe without exhaustion, but I miss him. I just finished the latest book, A Dance with Dragons, in the Song of Ice and Fire series and in it *spoiler alert* Bran learns to see through time and space through the heart trees and sometimes, one or another of the characters thinks they hear someone whispering their name, or has that feeling of not-quite-being-alone. I like to think Jeff is still enjoying this Spring, and maybe watching over me and Tasha along on our strolls, enjoying the warblers and cardinals, the clovers and primroses, the new life that’s come again.