Thursday, March 30, 2006

Tulips & Goldfinches

We've had a week of beautiful Spring weather. It appeared suddenly, without those icky days that people like me from New England call "mud season."

There's still snow on the ground, but its melting away quickly, and soon we will be seeing little green sprouts of tulips peeking through.

This weekend, I put a Goldfinch feeder in the lilac trees outside my dining room window. There have been lots of goldfinches feeding in the early morning. As I sit and type this, I can see perhaps 25-30 of them in the trees, waiting for their turn for breakfast.

Soon, the lilac tress will be trying to push tiny buds out to the reach the warm sunshine.

I read an article once that said that people who live in a climate where there are 4 distinct seasons have a stronger grasp of the years going by, because they see the changing of the seasons, and realize better that another year has passed.

We really notice that first warm, sunny Spring day, and that nippy, cold morning in October that tells us that winter is not far away.

We have seasonal clothes, that include hats and mitts, and winter boots, and then, in the summer, shorts and sundresses.

And sometimes, somewhere in between, we have all of that stuff out at once...because today might be a sweatshirt kind of day, and tomorrow might be a winter coat kind of day.

And its usually about May before most of us tuck away the bag of salt for the walkway that sits near our front door, and replace it with soil to start the summer flower gardens with.

Its strange to me that some of you reading this have never had to scrape the ice and snow off your car window, or let it run to warm up for 20 minutes before you can get into it. Its funny that some of you think 50 degrees is cold!

As much as winter is a big fat pain the butt to those of us who have to go to work, or travel in conditions that are less than desirable, there's something to be said for taking your kids outside in the cold on Christmas morning in their pajamas to see the footprints that Santa left on the roof as he arrived the night before.

And something to be said for beautiful mornings like this, and the appreciation of a little yellow bird arriving to feed. That little feel of excitement of not having to put boots and mitts on your child in the morning to send them off to school. Turning the furnace down for the first time in months, and opening a window, even though its really too cold to do that just yet. Putting your clothes on the clothesline, although they will probably stay there all day long, and not get really dry...they will smell fabulous just the same.

For me, and a group of my friends, those tiny tulips peeking out have taken on great significance in our lives.

Many of you have read "Welcome To Holland", a short story written by Emily Perl Kingsley after the birth of her son who has Down syndrome. It talks about your life taking a different route than you expected, and how you will see the beauty of that if you slow down and enjoy what you see.

Recently, a mom that posts on our Trisomy 21 board died after a very short battle with leukemia. Anne is survived by her husband, and two daughters; the youngest little girl is just a year old, and has Down syndrome.

The ladies on the T21 board have embraced her family, and done some amazing things to help keep the memory of Anne alive.

One of those things was that many of us sent a single tulip in a vase to the funeral home where Anne rested. It was a great idea put forth by one of our Moms, and the tulip was symbolic of those of us who live in "Holland".

It was such a powerful reminder of our ability to embrace one another, and to celebrate our lives. Much more powerful than a whole bouquet of tulips; they arrived one by one, slowly building a whole army of tulips; just as we have arrived on this by one...slowly building our army, recognizing that we are walking this journey arm in arm with one another.

Strong and beautiful one by one. Breathtaking and full of awe as a group.


Kelley said...

Betsy, your writing is so inspiring, and really makes me stop and think. Would you mind if I put a link to your blog on my blog?


Betsy said...

Kelley, I wasn't able to get into your blog?

I would be honoured for you to link my blog...

Thank you so much for reading it!


Kelley said...

I was in the middle of posting to it...maybe that's why?

Thanks Betsy!

Tammy and Parker said...


I love reading your 'Bits'. Thank you for sharing.

Tara Marie said...

Oh Betsy...I'm crying again. You have a way with words and noticing the small things, the many facets of life that make for brilliance. I have been so giddy because of the arrival of spring...the rebirth of the earth and my tulips starting to shoot up from the dark earth, one by one, reminds me of your words...the power and beauty of each individual flower.

Nicole said...

Bets, I am SO blessed that I am a part of your army! I love you sister!!!