Usually I prefer the same route on my morning walk, opting for the comfort of a known path. But the recent tragedy in Boston has lain heavy on my heart, and I know too well that the world is not always comfortable. So in an attempt to let the natural world heal this darkness, this morning I am taking my camera with me.
For the past few days I have walked at a steady clip lost in my own dark thoughts. Today, though, the camera commands attention. Stop, it says, look at that tree full of brand new leaves! Those leaves will not stay that soft green for long. Stop this very minute and take a picture!
So I stop and look. I have always loved the first leaves of spring… they have a color that’s almost translucent green, a fragile beauty that promises hope and new life. They make me think of Frost’s lovely poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” I have seen these leaves so many times before, have read the poem often, and yet each seems to take on a deeper meaning today.
The new leaves of spring
Are like each golden moment…
Precious and fleeting.
When I start to walk again, I do so under a rain of cherry blossom petals. Most of the flowers have gone, but the few that still remain have their own beauty. Ordinarily I would glance at them and walk by, but today I realize that these are brave survivors of rain and wind. Their time in the sun is over, yet they dance as they send their petals earthward.
Their life, so fleeting
Is like the first touch of spring
A promise of life.
Have I been walking blind all these years? It seems so. I take photographs of the way trees spread their branches, the rugged details of their trunks. A bluebird on a mailbox begs my attention, and the camera obligingly captures the moment. And there… a yellow and black butterfly is fanning itself on a patch of daffodils. It is half hidden, yellow against gold, and I might have missed it if my camera wasn’t with me.
But of course there is a camera that is always with me—only I don’t use it as much as I should. My eyes are cameras, my mind is (or should be!) far sharper and more powerful than the Nikon in my hand. Be aware in the moment is something I have heard often, and at times of trouble the moment seems even more important. Though there is darkness, there is surely light—like the light that filters through branches brave with new leaves.
A soft breeze has set these leaves dancing and I stop to admire them once again. Not with my camera this time but with my whole concentration. For I know that this golden moment cannot stay… except in memory.
If sorrow returns
I will still hoard these treasures
That can heal my heart.