That first crocus of the season – what can make you feel like a million bucks more than spying that first fresh flower of early spring? Maybe winning the lottery for actual millions of bucks would be better, but honestly, today I feel as though I’ve hit the jackpot.
Why? Well, I was walking out in the cold this late morning, after a nor’easter of a storm yesterday. No, not for daily exercise. That would be nice but if I’m being honest, I’ll admit I haven’t done much walking since my ankle-turning trip to San Francisco’s hills a few weeks back. No, I was simply collecting my mail from the mailbox by the road. I was favoring my left ankle a bit, giving it some room to breathe and stretch and find its way back to the flat sandy coast of Massachusetts. To even ground. Maybe I was looking more carefully for the inevitable dips and bends in the pavement that can catch a person unaware and send her flying.
So maybe I wouldn’t have seen it at all if not for my slightly worn foot. Maybe I’d have been absorbed in all the junk mail and looking for that surprise million dollar check from Publishers Clearing if not for the ache in my ankle. I guess those hills gave me a workout on purpose? Or maybe I’m just not meant to be the next winner of that prize if only I have the matching number? Who knows?
But in any case, I collected my mail and started back up the driveway, when I looked down and over to the shade of the arborvitae, past the snow bank and ice, into the lawn. Why I glanced that way, I couldn’t tell you, but I moved my eyes past my own bodily sphere, my own perceived interests.
And shock of shocks! There is was! A tiny little purple flower, cup-shaped, unfolding to catch the next rain. Green-y striped leaves bursting into the air like spears challenging the white stuff nearby. First out! Keep me down if you can! A daring, living, breathing entity that braved the storm. This bud reveled in life, taking the ultimate risk of survival, of growth, of desire to succeed. Freed itself from the frozen earth, as though anyone could do it. (All this confidence makes a crocus the loveliest of spring flowers.)
And you know what this makes me think? I think that from this desperate, spring-bound bud, I’ve hit the jackpot. It’s a crucible of understanding. Knowing that if a crocus can behave so courageously, so morally, so intentionally, then so can I.
If a bloom can find shelter in the icy cold and continue to blossom, certainly I can match this strength.
If a tiny purple and green flower can exhibit hope for the future of its existence, then surely, so can I discover my own hope.
Sore ankle or not, junk mail or a million dollar lottery ticket, no matter, I can do it. I can find my own reason for being.
And I promise to at least try to keep looking beyond myself for the secrets and wonders that make our world.