Of Lilacs and Windblown Petals

This morning as I was getting ready for school I started to think about the fact that it was Wednesday and about all of the things I have to get done before the week is out. I also thought about how quickly April is passing and how crazy May is going to be. By the time we got in the car I was in a panic. When I get in a panic, I begin to babble. I list off all of the impossibilities of life; my husband suggests ways of dealing with the impossibilites, and I tell him why each of his suggestions will not work. With each successive shoot-down my pitch gets higher and my breathing faster. It’s not pretty.

Thankfully, my husband is a patient man. After almost thirty-six years of marriage he knows that these things eventually pass and he quietly told me to have a good day as he dropped me off at the door of my building. I dragged my grumpy self and my stuff into the office and signed in. There was an envelope in my box with handwriting I didn’t recognize. It turned out to be a graduation announcement and a senior picture from one of my former students. He’s from Africa and he’s VERY tall. He has hopes of playing college basketball, so he needed to leave our school and go to a place where his chances of getting noticed by coaches was better. When he gave me the paper work for his transfer last spring, I put it in my desk drawer and refused to look at it. I couldn’t bear the thought of losing him. I knew that this was best for him, though, so I eventually filled it out and sent it in. As I stood there looking at his picture and thinking about how far he has come, I got a little teary. Teaching has its rewards even if there are some times of year that are insane.

I went upstairs with a lighter heart and a bit of a spring in my step. I was fumbling for my key when I noticed that my classroom was already open. I walked in and I smelled the surprise before I saw it. Someone had left a jar of fresh cut lilacs on my desk. I love lilacs. They remind me of my childhood and they are pretty rare down here in the south. One of my fondest memories of childhood is of cutting lilacs for my teachers, wrapping them in a wet paper towel and inhaling their wonderful fragrance all the way to school. Lilacs smell like spring.

I was less than five minutes into my day and already had two unexpected blessings. All day long, every time the panic began to return, I took a deep breath of lilac scented air. It was tremendously comforting. So, thank you, anonymous lilac bearer; you made my day! I ended up getting quite a bit done today and when I got home one of the jobs I had to finish didn’t take nearly as long as I imagined it would. I even had time for a walk. As I walked this evening, the wind picked up. Being bald during chemo-therapy made me appreciate the feeling of the wind in my hair. It’s one of my very favorite sensations. Pink petals blew off the trees and swirled like snow around Margie and me as we walked. The air smelled of jasmine and holly. It was glorious. I closed my eyes and let the wind blow away the stress.

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