The cherry tree down the street is still attempting to bloom, in dribs and drabs. I’ve noticed some volunteer nasturtiums, too. Plenty of crocuses have poked their heads up, their hoods swelling with color that will eventually be flowers.
I want to grab all of them and say, softly but with great force, “Don’t. You don’t know what could happen, it’s only January, please, keep yourself safe.”
They don’t listen to me, of course, their knowledge is deeper than my fear.
My children are sixteen and twenty now. They are beautiful, caring, empathetic human beings–and I worry about predators and sick systems who prey upon such. I hope I’ve given them enough tools to spot the douchewads and jerks, I hope I have loved them so deeply and flagrantly that they know, no matter what, that they are worthy of such love and the predators who would convince them otherwise won’t find a purchase.
I know I can’t protect them from everything, much less sudden frosts. Yet the desire to keep them safe turns my hands into fists and my eyes into lamps, searching the dark waves past the safe harbor I’ve painfully assembled during the course of living.
I don’t understand those who see the vulnerable, the beautiful, and only wish to mar. I don’t understand people who see an expanse of unbroken snow and can’t rest until there are footprints or stains. I know they exist–I saw them, even as children, stripping leaves from branches not even hanging in their way, kicking the helpless and breaking ice on puddles just to hear the shattering, growing up to maim all those in their orbit one way or another.
There is no understanding to be reached, I suppose, only defense.
I know the cherry tree will survive and the crocuses will rise triumphant even if the ice comes. My Princess and Little Prince will meet terrible things in their lifetimes despite all my best efforts to protect and insulate. I have to trust that the tree, the flower, the young ones I carried in my own body have at least a fighting chance.
Spring is coming. One year it will pass me by…but not this year. I’m still here, searching the waters, calling out when the storm edges close. I am still longing to wrap the cherry tree in enough love to keep the frost at bay, to whisper to the crocuses you’re doing so well, to hug my almost-grown-up children and repeat the truth under all truths.
I love you so much. Please be careful, please be safe.
Safety may be an illusion in a cold, uncaring universe. Still I maintain the harbor for my beloveds, as long as I endure.
If the cold comes, it will find me ready.