There are trees here that are dripping deep purple flowers that remind me of the lilacs in Michigan. Every spring as a child I was keenly aware of the progression of spring flowers, crocus, daffodils, tulips, and then the lilac bushes. I wanted a lilac bush in our own yard so badly because not only are the shades of purple divine, but the fragrance is also heavenly. The blossoms fall in a way that a bunch of grapes hangs from a vine, and I just want to open my mouth and devour them off the bush. While at the University of Michigan as a student I walked passed a long hedge of lilacs on my way to class, and I can sit here now and breathe deeply and have the full sense of Spring descend upon me.
Spring is my favorite season, and for my friends in Uganda who have wet and dry seasons, please try to use your imagination. After a long cold, dark, dreary, dead winter, the light changes, temperatures rise, and birds begin to sing. But nothing is as impressive as a tender flower bulb as it somehow pushes up through the hard winter earth to herald the arrival of Spring with splashes of desperately awaited color along a gray landscape. Spring is renewal; it is a start over more for me than the celebration of New Year’s in January.
Today is my birthday, and as a child my birthday was supposed to be in Spring, but Michigan gets the latest arrival of the new season and I was often disappointed. All I wanted back then is to be able to wear a sundress on my birthday instead of a winter coat. When we lived in Connecticut, it snowed on my birthday. I tried to be a good sport and make my snowman smile. I might put on a sundress today, but I’m definitely putting on my riding boots.
I think God heard all my prayers as a child, knowing how much I treasure the seasons he has created. The answer didn’t come as a child or young adult, but now as I live in one of the best cities in America with a mild climate where we get two Springs, one after a mild winter, and another after a harsh summer. I am going to enjoy the weather today. We don’t have bulbs that bloom, but the bright pink redbud trees are delightful, the salvia is perky, and so are the purple laurels. I think I hear the birds in my backyard singing “happy birthday” to me. I’ll walk my dog, push Kira in the stroller, and take deep breaths. That’s a plan I like.
Even though I’m going to be working most of the day for Kirabo Seeds, I am going to the stables first thing this morning for a riding lesson. (Let’s hope I don’t fall because I am learning to canter, just a little prayer on my birthday.) The horses sense Spring is here, perhaps at the same level that I know it. The same wind that lifts my hair goes through their mane, and they tip their faces up to the sky in the same way I do. I feel fresh, frisky, and energized. I feel like playing. But I don’t feel like celebrating a birthday on the day I have to work, so I asked my family to give me a do over next Wednesday when we are all in Florida for spring break with Craig’s parents. I’ll definitely take advantage of my birthday then, and they know what that means!
And for today, I’m going to hug the people in my family, both two legged and four legged, and enjoy some time on the patio with my work, maybe take Kira to the park when she gets up from her nap. I like getting older. I don’t mind saying I’m 44 today. As I age I fully appreciate the most valuable gifts in life, God, my Husband, family, children, friends, and animals…especially big ones who let me ride on their backs. (I let Craig off the hook this year, I did not ask for a horse, but next year…he should be ready for my sweet face that will beg if necessary.)…this year… I am going to see the gorillas in Uganda when I am there this summer. Whoa is that not awesome? We treck out into the forest with a guide, and get to spend an hour there with them, observing and photographing them in their natural habitat. That’s worth working for all day today…and so are all the children I love so dearly in Uganda.