And I was alive in the blizzard of the blossoming pear,
Myself I stood in the storm of the bird–cherry tree.
It was all leaflife and starshower, unerring, self–shattering
And it was all aimed at me.
What is this dire delight flowering fleeing always earth?
What is being? What is truth?
Blossoms rupture and rapture the air,
All hover and hammer,
Time intensified and time intolerable, sweetness raveling rot.
It is now. It is not.
–And I Was Alive by Osip Mandelstam fromStolen Air
I have a love of trees. Since we moved to our small home nine years ago I have planted eleven trees and I love each of them dearly. I tend to each of them carefully, from the lace leaf red Japanese Maple, to the blue atlas cedars each tree adds unique joy to my yard. This time of year is particularly special because it’s the two week window in which my weeping peach tree bursts into full bloom with big, fluffy fuchsia bud that drip down the weeping limbs.
This year is particularly special because last year on the day my beloved tree bloomed we had a terrible hail storm. Within hours of blooming every bloom has been beaten to the ground in a wet, pink mess. In essence I have waited two years for this sweet, brief week to arrive.
On week three of quarantine we have discovered the joy of a new rhythm. But how long the short term will stretch feels like forever. Time is far more elastic than we realize when we stop and take the time to appreciate it, rather allowing ourselves to ride the waves of hustle, ambition and habit. How will I use this time which is precious and sacred? And how will I use the time that comes after which is also holy?
To Find a Steady Center is a daily poem and meditation to offer a short, good word to those who are anxious, fearful or lonely and who might need a gentle word of hope, encouragement or perspective during social distancing.