I can’t seem to get over the flowers these days.
For the last six weeks, the farthest I’ve gone from my home is about half a mile. Most days after lunch, my family and I take a quick walk around our tiny neighborhood loop. We’ve been sheltering-in-place, like much of the rest of the country, and these daily walks have given us some stability while the rest of our lives float in uncertainty.
The house behind us has a row of daffodils standing at attention like bright yellow soldiers who guard a white picket fence. There are light pink magnolias on a side street close to ours, and lavender crocuses surprise us at the base of mailboxes and tree trunks.
On our walks, I see people in the neighborhood I’ve never seen before. We silently obey the social distancing rules, taking turns shuffling our bodies into the street so others can have the sidewalk while we pass. I see weariness in their eyes — even the cheerful ones. No one looks put together. The loss of our clean-cut hair confirms this common understanding that we’re all hanging by a thin thread.
The news today predicts more job losses, more death, more waiting, more disparities, and more discouraging numbers than I can keep count of. I cry with gratitude when I see photos of nurses and doctors whose red marks and indentations, paths of stress and sorrow, line their faces. My friend with an autoimmune disease, a nurse, texts me to say how scared she is before heading into a COVID unit, and the fear I feel for her is visceral. I feel a gash in the face of hope when I read vitriolic accusations online, get a message about someone else who’s lost their job, or feel the anxiety rising in my Asian American body when I am in public and don’t know how a stranger will respond to my existence beside theirs, like Grace wrote about here.
The world weeps, and yet God still speaks through petals and green stems.
Every year between October and April, I manage to forget how beautiful spring is. But this year, it’s more than my yearly winter amnesia. The flowers this year seem audacious. The weight of COVID-19 hasn’t kept them from rising. These gentle symbols of resurrection stand straight up to salute the sun.
My kids bring their own cameras on our short walks. They take note of dandelions and find funny faces, hairstyles, and personalities in the shapes of the trees. We observe tiny gray fish in the neighborhood retention pond, witness a duck take flight from the water, and look at the greenish pond scum lining the rocks by the water’s edge. We’ve become a family of tourists in our own neighborhood. We are thirsty for wonder.
Read the rest here.