This is a piece about the inevitability of spring, of love and of life. It’s beautifully written and its message is something so relevant to what is going on all around us. It’s good to take a breath, look around, and appreciate the gift that we’ve been given. When Tony agreed to let me run this as a guest post, I was more than thrilled. I was honored. I know you’ll enjoy it.
Hidden Among the Leaves
by Tony Amore
The three of us sit at Easter brunch in a sun filled dining room overlooking the river and joke about skipping mass while waiting for French press coffee, juice and tea. We joke about pacing ourselves and getting our $40 (per person) worth. So much has changed over the past year and a half. Easter symbolizes a rebirth, renewal, and the resurrection of the paschal sacrifice. To see us from the inside out it’s hard for me not to occasionally view us as sacrificial lambs but that seems tinged in a self-deprecation which borders on self-pity.
From our table the derelict banks of the river’s opposite side are clear — an auto salvage yard, triple decker tenements painted improbable colors, a dead end street that terminates at the footing of an antique bridge long removed. Bare trees stand at the water’s edge beneath them the piles of dark leaves steep in the flow and lighter piles cover the detritus of the ascending hills. A few ducks glide close then break the surface of the muddy post-industrial river when they land, none of this seems noticeable to them.
This time of year, when wandering, I see only the moldy, damp leaves that remain from an autumn recently past. Decaying leftovers. These remnants plague my senses — the mold and fungus spark seasonal allergies replete with headaches, sore throat and the post nasal drip. But their decay is the life’s blood of lilacs and forsythia as well as the two thorny nameless shrubs near our deck.
Robins and chickadees, joined by the occasional warbler, rustle beneath the leaves seeking larval insects and ticks. These future pests become immediate treasures not unlike the remaining acorns the squirrels and chipmunks find hidden among the leaves. They root and claw the soil overturning, composting, sowing the thicket in the woods behind our house. A red fox walks the ancient farm walls formed of rocks and minor boulders. She hunts mice and unlucky squirrels who lack the agility to bound skywards climbing the budding oaks and maples.
Yes, the fall’s sacrifice resurrects the spring. This pattern existed before you, before me and certainly before Easter brunch. It will continue, unending long after the bill for said brunch has been paid off (at least one billing cycle). And it will continue despite our best efforts to disrupt it with pollution, climate change, deforestation, and real estate development.
Among the decay is the power of an energetic breathing engine which is flawless despite the appearance of chaotic sloppiness; we can neither start nor stop this engine from seamlessly running. This has meaning: every act of destruction is a man made thing; all nature does is create because it cannot destroy. There is no death, no dying, no brokenness. Every act of nature is preparation for that which will become, for that which has yet to transform itself.
Humankind however is born with limited eyes which fail to see beyond the edge of our noses, or the edge of a fouled riverbank. Emotions, fears, insecurities, our supposed intelligence, these things exist as limitations to our seeing and knowing the world around us. We get so caught up in the pain of loss, or the fear of losing, that we are blind to the ever-present gains our connections to this web of life offer us.
Spring awaits hidden among the leaves as does life and love. And when all the clutter is swept away during the inevitable spring cleaning, what was old becomes renewed, what once lay leafless will blossom and bloom in the warmth gained this time of year as we lean into the sun.
You’ll find some good writing over HERE, where Tony and his wife Christina write. He’s a college professor –English, no surprise. She’s one, too, only she teaches Criminal Justice. As you can tell, they write about more than parenting. I subscribe to their site and you might consider that, too.