New Leaves | Mark Lindsay

Every winter I sit and look out my window at the birch trees and marvel at their seasonal transformation. In the winter rain they glisten like jeweled necklaces, the wetness revealing red undertones to the normal drabness of the branches. Nude and dormant, the branches sway like a metronome, ticking off the days until they awaken once again. When the buds start to swell, the redness intensifies, and then, exploding in a day, they burst into lime-green radiance. It is the same every year. Yet, with each vigil, I wonder if this is year that spring might not come.

It's not that I am a pessimist. I simply don't want to take things for granted. It's doubtful that the planet might, one day, refuse to tilt on its axis. But, assuming that spring will come is, to me, a way of taking it for granted. It is a wonder each time it arrives, a renewal of everything that is good. How could we assume that something so wondrous would be guaranteed to be here, right on schedule, every year? I prefer to be delighted in surprise.

It is easy to get caught up in the headiness of spring. It is the most euphoric of seasons. If one focuses on a single branch of a single tree, it's a bit easier to fathom and behold. The opening of the buds into tender leaves is the ultimate act of optimism and renewal. The leaves are so intricate in form, so perfect in their design. To see them reveal themselves all at once is like watching the stage of a thousand dancers. It is easier to comprehend the season if one focuses and meditates on a singular miracle.

The birches are awake again! And so I breathe a sigh of relief. This old planet never lets me down. Vicky's trees are green again.