When an amazing thing happened to me, it took a while to absorb. My whole adult life in fact had slipped past without my heeding the messages all around me. And when the epiphany came, there were no celestial choirs awaiting their cue for the spotlight, just a quiet awakening, like a flower opening.
I understood patience.
Oh, I still am driven into a frenzy of frustration by the inanities of life – idiot drivers, stubborn children, glacial computers, stupid song lyrics – the parade is as varied as it is endless. Breathe. Unclench. Shake. It helps.
No, the patience I’m talking about is deep and still. It bides its time until the right moment, a moment dictated by something beyond one’s control. It is part delayed gratification, like waiting for the cookies to come out of the oven. It’s part expectation, like waiting for your baby to be born. It’s part anticipation, too, like waiting for the overture to begin. It’s all of these and more.
My eureka moment came one April day when I ran into the garden to see if the daffodils I had planted in the fall were coming up. I had never planted a seed or a bulb before. Any thoughts of what might be sleeping below the snow were buried beneath Christmas excitement, the mundane tedium of February, followed by March. And then icicles began to drip and fade away. Pockets of snow clung to shadows. Days grew longer. Birds returned. Spring’s arrival had me bursting. I was practically blowing on the grass to warm it up faster.
And then I saw them. Little green noses were poking through the earth. The daffodils were growing. I felt…what was that thrill? Delight? Joy? Yes. Disbelief? For sure. That something was nudging its way to life, something I had tossed into the earth months before – with little forethought and even less hope – that was a miracle. I couldn’t wait for them to bloom. Would they be yellow or white? The picture on the packet was but a vague memory. Every day I checked their progress. I waited. I waited some more.
Somewhere in that waiting, in a succession of changes so gentle and easy, I came to understand. I saw in a different way the passing of seasons, of time. I listened for the garden’s lessons. I felt the leaping greenly spirits of trees, as e.e.cummings said. Because I had never paid attention, kindred-ship with the mysteries of nature and time had always eluded me. And suddenly I was part of it all. I understood. What a gift.
By Elaine Coish