Spring has always meant renewal for me – a time of new growth and baby things and the smell of blossoms. But I found myself feeling this deep sense of loss today as I drove the backroads to take one last look at the tulip fields.
I remembered driving around with my centenarian dad in the car just a few years ago – sharing the sights of Skagit County with him. I remembered chauffering Mom around to her appointments – and I remembered that day when she was trying to remember all the birds she’d seen so she could tell her friends about them: “Trumpeter swans and snow geese and herons.” I remembered the swans that were in that field at the beginning of April, spreading their wings for me. And I remembered the waves of snow geese that were here just weeks ago.
And now the tulips are topped, and the swans and snow geese have started their journey back north, and Moz and Dad are no longer here with me in their human bodies. And for a time today I felt this deep ache when I thought about the loss of all these beautiful forms.
Of course, the essence of all these things – the tulips and the swans and the snow geese, and Mom and Dad – is still with me. And I’m going to consciously wrap myself up in the love and joy and beauty and rejoice. But sometimes… sometimes there’s an ache.
topped tulips stand stark trumpeter swans are gone now April brings mourning
All That Is Gone
tulip petals in the lawn no more trumpeter swans my parents have moved on spring is supposed to be the dawn of seasons, new growth, lambs and fawns, but today I’m remembering all that is gone -Karen Molenaar Terrell
“…our disappointments and ceaseless woes, turn us like tired children to the arms of divine Love.” – Mary Baker Eddy
Locust trees and lupines and pungent pine pollen and wild roses growing along the river and green grass just-cropped send their sweet scent wafting on gentle winds past my nose. -Karen Molenaar Terrell
My husband and I visited Tulip Town (Mount Vernon, Washington) on Thursday. The tulips aren’t quite in full bloom, yet – but it was a sunny, blue-sky day; everyone was friendly and full of good humor; and get this – I asked a random person to take our photo and he turned out to be a professional portrait photographer! Can I pick ’em or can I pick ’em?! I’ll attach his photo of us at the bottom with a photo credit for him – he did a great job!
Here are some of the photos I brought back back from Tulip Town. (Photos by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)
Below: Photo of Karen Molenaar Terrell and Scott Terrell by professional photographer, Bob Wachtendonk, of North Bend, Washington.
It was a beautiful and perfect day, but not in the way
that you probably imagine. The skies were grey,
the new daffodil blossoms bent over in the gusting
wind. It was a hot tea and zipped jacket day.
There was a sweet melancholy in my thoughts
as I drove by your old home, our old haunts,
and remembered the two of you, laughing and happy,
exploring your new hometown. There was no pain
in the sweet sadness. No tears. A gentle gladness
for the time I had with you here. It was a day to rent
“The Secret Garden” and watch young Mary learn
about hope and magic while a fire danced and burned
in the woodstove and a cat curled up on my lap for a nap.
The earth is alive! –
the air filled with the aroma
of blossoms and freshly-cut grass
and vibrating with frog song
The day’s tension eases from me
and I feel myself falling gently
into the soft mother’s arms of spring –
my thoughts opening up, blooming
with the joy of the evening.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
(Click here to hear tonight’s frog song in our backyard.)
Winter just started officially yesterday, but I already feel like I’ve been sitting in winter for months now. This season once held a lot of magic for me – glittering snowflakes swirling down through a starry sky, and snowmen and skiing, and pie-baking and caroling through the neighborhood. And there’s still magic, I guess – but… the last few years have also brought tragedy in winter, and now I find myself growing a little wary as the dark and cold relentlessly approaches my part of the world…
Christmas lights on the tree –
sparkling through the cold
and dark – and I wait
for daffodils. Wait to see
their sunshiny flowers
filling the fields again.
But daffodils need to go through
winter to bloom, and if we want
to see them so do we.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell