A spring so many of us felt we’ve been robbed of is coming to an end… A most unusual spring… A spring of fear, loss and uncertainty… A spring of unexpected, sometimes unwanted realizations… Perhaps a spring of gratitude too – gratitude for what we do have… Perhaps also a spring of generosity and self-sacrifice, so others could be safe, alive… A spring of learning, even if the truths learnt may have been painful ones… A spring like no other.
After missing out on spring nature’s milestones, one by one, I was fairly sure I’d add blooming conker trees to the list. I noticed their delicate flowers starting to open up as I was driving home from the weekly trip the supermarket, mask on my face, latex gloves squeaking on the wheel, hand sanitizer close by, where I once used to keep my mints. Much as I tried, I couldn’t channel that childish joy I always feel when conker trees are blooming.
Their soft white petals would get caught in my hair on my way to school as a child. My first crazy teenage love would gather a few of them and hand them to me, guessing I liked them in spite of my indifferent act; I’d keep them in a glass in my room, until the puddle of petals and pollen under them turned brown, just like their stems. Growing up and more callous, I ignored and took them for granted for years. Last year, I took hundreds of photographs of them, experimenting… I delighted in their beauty, I managed to avoid the busy bees buzzing about, and then I deleted a great part of them, no being quite happy with how they turned out.
It never occurred to me that I could be alive and well, in a place with so many of these trees, and not by able to just be under one of them, reaching out and touching their blossoms if I so chose. Next week, if nothing changes, I told myself… I would stop under one of those trees, I told myself, I would get out of my car, mask and all, and offer myself a few minutes with the flowers… really see them, touch them and let them touch me…
The following week, as several restrictions were lifted and I could finally walk wherever I wanted, I took a few photographs of blossoming conker trees during my first outing. No more bees this time, but as beautiful as ever, just before they started to wither.
Let’s hope summer’s better! Stay safe, everyone, so we don’t lose any more season!