I love this time of year, and I'm sure most New Yorkers feel as I do. Suddenly the thought of snow is stored away for another year, the freezing windy days are behind us, and spring is here.
I am partial to spring. You see I was born on the first day of spring. It always made me feel a little special. And who doesn't need to feel special about something? But this really has nothing to do with what I was feeling about an hour ago.
I live in a neighborhood named Forest HIlls, and although there are no forests in my backyard I do have a couple of really large trees growing outside the windows of my apartment. The streets in my neighborhood also have many trees and when they bloom they are beautiful. Last year, we felt the wrath of a tornado, something very rare in our area. Walking the streets in the days following the tornado, it was devastating to witness the destruction. Many of these old and magnificent wonders were either totally destroyed or partially cut down in an effort to save whatever little remained of them. It seemed impossible that any of the trees that hadn't been pulled up by their roots would ever bloom again.
An hour ago, I was on my way home from marketing, and approached the street where my favorite tree has stood for all the years that I've lived here. In the past, I would smile at it as I walked home from a long and difficult day at work and feel lifted by its beauty. Each year, I love watching this wondrous gift from heaven as it slowly show its buds, and then one day finally spread its beautiful leaves. I find myself speaking to it as I welcome it back. I actually begin singing a song I learned in elementary school, so very long ago: "welcome sweet spring time, we welcome you with joy." I have no idea what the rest of the song is, but that part always just comes out of me each year as I witnessed the rebirth of this tree.
Now this tree, once truly majestic, is half of its previous size. Many of its branches have been torn off by the storm. Yet amazingly the remaining parts have held fast. Today as I passed it, I stopped to look up and felt a tremendous joy when I noticed some of the remaining leaves filled with tiny buds. Once again this tree had come back to life, it had survived.
I smiled at my friend and welcomed her/him back. People passing me may have thought I was crazy for talking to a tree, but I paid them no mind. I feel a kinship to this tree that is almost indescribable. I am not a very religious person but I feel strongly there is a God who has helped to make me in many ways like this tree. I have had a full life filled with many bad and so many good days. Time and time again, I've had my branches pulled from me and yet, just like this wondrous tree, my buds have always returned to bloom. I blew it a kiss and smiled all the way home.