As we scrambled to the car, and I screeched the lever into reverse, Asherel leaped in beside me. This was trip number two of three that day off to a class. If anyone ever tells you that homeschool moms have a cushy life because they get to stay home, please set them straight in as nonviolent a manner as possible. Cause if they say that to my face on a day like yesterday, I cannot guarantee I won't have Gandhi flipping in his grave. (Gandhi is dead, isn't he? I should really research this stuff before I flap my tongue.) Anyway, for a moment, as Asherel snapped on her seatbelt, and her books tumbled to the floor, I glanced up. Our driveway ends at a double gate that opens onto our back yard, directly in line with a tangle of forsythia bushes.
I stopped my frenzied movements, and in stillness, soaked in the beauty of the forsythia.
"The forsythia are blooming," I said quietly, "I hadn't even noticed."
It is not like forsythia are subtle. They wave long whippy arms that are covered in tiny yellow blossoms. It is like the sun exploded and left millions of bits of itself sticking to the branches. No one can look at a forsythia and miss it. Except me. How long had it been in bloom? How many frantic leaps into the car, pointing right at those resplendent bushes had I made that week and not noticed the forsythia in bloom? For not the first time, I wondered what was wrong with me. How could I miss the forsythia in bloom?
Later that day, I looked out from the sunroom and saw a whole line of daffodils blooming along our fence. I hadn't noticed them either. I spent more time than usual yesterday reading the Bible. I needed some shoring up, some slowing down, some regaining of perspective. I don't know what it is. Part of it is the impossibly busy schedule as we navigate high-school. Part of it is the lousy economy and its direct impact on us. Part of it is the "cubital tunnel syndrome" and the constant ache, weakness, and splinting necessary to try to heal my arms. (I just got a new full arm splint to sleep in....I look like Frankenstein with my arms both splinted straight and sticking out like telephone poles.) But all those issues are not the full answer. I think all that is just an excuse. No one should ever miss the forsythia blooming.
We are watching Superman (the movie) in segments when we can this week. When school doesn't end too late, and there are no pressing after dinner events, we have settled on the couch, dinner plates balanced on our laps while drooling dogs surround us, and watched the man who can leap tall buildings, stop bullets, and outrun freight trains. But I know what happened to the real man, the actor who portrayed Superman. Christopher Reeves was riding his horse over a jump when the horse balked, Reeves fell off, broke his neck, and became a quadriplegic. He died not long ago (before or after Gandhi?). I wonder if he had felt he really was Superman at times. I wonder if he felt invincible, and that the world would always be his to grab and enjoy? I wonder if like me, he just assumed the forsythia would be there when he had time to look? I can't watch that movie without a tinge of sadness for a man who discovered he wasn't Superman.
I paused and watched the wind tugging at the yellow profusion of the forsythia.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?" I sighed to my daughter, as I slowly backed the car out of the driveway.
Ecclesiastes 11: 7-10
Light is sweet,
and it pleases the eyes to see the sun. However many years anyone may live,
let them enjoy them all.
But let them remember the days of darkness,
for there will be many.
Everything to come is meaningless.
You who are young, be happy while you are young,
and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart
and whatever your eyes see,
but know that for all these things
God will bring you into judgment.
So then, banish anxiety from your heart
and cast off the troubles of your body,
Remember to extol his work,
which people have praised in song. All humanity has seen it;
mortals gaze on it from afar. How great is God—beyond our understanding!
The number of his years is past finding out.
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