It’s the beginning of spring, which means the grass turns lush, green, and soft and the Bradford pairs stink up the air. I mark the seasons by many things, but what I remember about spring is gardens and plants. There were the annuals dad and I planted at the local church when I was young. There was my mother’s garden, her pride and joy, with Lily of the Valley blooms bursting first. Every year she would patiently teach me a few more plants and enthusiastically try to convince me of the merits of weeding. Clematis, gardenia, sedums, rhododendron, iris, bleeding heart, purple plum, succulents, the petunias by the doorway. There were the blooms on my grandma’s farm. The flowers by the barn were as big as dinner plates and lazily canvassed by butterflies. I spent many hours sitting in the rocking chairs beneath the tulip trees outside the student union of my college. Right now there are the cherry trees that blanket my current workplace parking lot in their petals.
I’m in my late twenties, which is old enough to start feeling the nostalgic ache for the people and things of years past. People, things, and places are changed, shifted, or gone, forever put of reach. This is perhaps one of the knottiest questions at the center of the great stuff debate. Is memory worth keeping things over? The pirate, who pontificates like its his job (when he gets his professor hood, it will be!) likes items that are seeds for stories he can tell, memories he can re-live and reinvigorate with the re-telling. Getting rid of the item is akin to wiping the memory. With my family history of Alzheimer’s, my hold is a bit looser. After all, if you can’t even associate the face in the carefully labeled family picture with the person standing in front of you, no object in the world is going help. Memories fade no matter what you do.
But I like that in this season, there are these little blooming connections to the past that pop up to say hello. On bright sunny, blooming, fragrant spring days like these, it’s easy to close my eyes and lean into the past and, for a few seconds, close the distance.