Under the sugar snow, they rise, yellow green shoots of longing-- Iris, Daffodil, Tulip, Bleeding Heart.
Plants dug from my Anchorage gardens, trucked along the winding Seward Highway to a hillside above Lowell Point. Nestled into holes in a compost garden bed, between Alder stumps and Spruce. Wintered over under seven plus feet of snow--Will they take? Will they grow?
Seeing their optimistic tips thrust through the snow's spring crust gives me hope for more than blooms, more than gardens rich with color, but hope for living boldly, intentionally, on this land, with each other, hope for following our hearts where ever they lead, around bends, over rises, across detours, into the dark unknown.
The news of the death of a childhood friend reached this mountainside of mine last week, a woman my age, with two young children, overtaken by cancer, the way so many of our loved ones pass.
In my mind, Christina is seven, like Olive, with an impish grin, and bright eyes, dancing to records in my pink and silver room, in the white house with a red door, on Guernseytown Road, in Watertown Ct.
We sing along, off-key, unbound, free to Cinderella (Sweep sweep sweep, I try not to complain...), Charlie Brown (Happiness is two kinds of ice-cream...), Annie (Its a hard knock life for us...), Chorus Line (One, singular sensation...) and imagine our feet landing upon the wooden planks of a Broadway stage.
In my mind, Christina is still in that spotlight, playful, mischievous, with a Barbie in one hand and a mud cake in the other. She smiles, as if she knows more than the rest of us faculty children, who race around the halls of the Taft School, as if we own the castle-like buildings of the prep-school we call home.
In my mind, Christina can't be gone.
We live in a time of loss. The bleaching of coral reefs, threatened extinction of bees, shrinking glaciers, rising oceans, bodies rippled by bullets, by mutant cells, by a nameless ghost that squelches delight.
My head could just stay in my hands.
And yet the shriveled tubers shoot energy upwards through the snow, the tiny seeds crack open, the pussy willows emerge, leaves unfold, without our assistance.
Without buttons, plugs, or wires. Without clasped hands and bent knees. Without signatures.
Just an innate desire to climb out of the dark soil and push towards the open air. To feel the warmth of the sun, as the earth continues to circle...
...as the earth continues to circle and circle the sun.