Infallible Signs




It’s raining again on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. For weeks, we’ve slogged through one freezing deluge after another, but today, the rain is soft and warm. In my yard, there are tiny green shoots standing bravely between two large pine trees: Daffodils – a little speckled with mud, but there they are. They’re always the first infallible signs of spring in my yard. I still can’t get over how they do that every year. Come back, I mean. Of course, I should know better.

On the day my son died, there were azalea plants blooming on my windowsill. The rage and screams so shocked the tiny pink blossoms that, after a few hours, they had turned to brown tissue paper. I threw them away, plants, pots, and all. I didn’t know then that if I had only kept them in the sunlight, watered them, loved them, they would have come back, too; the roots were still alive. But I was too focused on death, too believing in it. I couldn’t feel the life that still existed in all of us – my son, the plants, and me. I believed we all died that day.

But life was resting in me, behind my heart, behind my grief, waiting for my winter to pass. My presence here is proof of that. What is it that refutes death? What is that thing that stubbornly, inexorably, rises out of winter’s grave to bloom again and again? It is life itself. That is it. That is all. That is all there is. And it resides in the spirit.

I grant you that there are times, when it is dark and cold, that we can’t feel it. That’s the way it was with me. It took another spirit, a Messenger, to help me feel it, to guide me through a cosmic keyhole into the past, so that I might see life outside of linear time, and know that it returns.

Outside my window, the brave little shoots stand in the rain, speckled with mud. But they will rise. They will be lifted by life into the sunlight, until they become like the sunlight itself: Yellow. Sunny. Infallible signs of spring.


Update: The Messenger is in the form of a printed copy and is now getting its cover done.

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