In my lifetime I have experienced many lessons, and, hopefully, have even learned from some of them.
However, I still have come up with very few reliable truths, mostly because, to me, anyway, there always seems to be the other side to consider.
I would like to attribute this thought process to a journalistic mind, but I’m afraid some less than kind people would say I think the way I think because I’m a fence sitter.
For that very reason, I have never been one to dole out advice to my children, neither sage nor philosophical advice or any advice, for that matter.
Instead I have said stuff like “wait and see” or “follow your heart.” In other words, make up your own mind and know, that no matter what happens, I have your back.
Anyway, they say there are only two things in life that are certain and true and these are death and taxes.
Well, in my humble opinion, me, a fence sitter on some things, beg to differ on this particular issue.
Pussywillows. These are certain and true. I’m sure of it.
Pussywillows come every year, a gentle, soft reminder that life, with all its unexpected sorrows and unexplained tragedies, keeps on keeping on.
I have, always and forever, been a lover of simple things.
Simple things like sheets, wind dried on a clothes line, smelling all fragrant and fresh like spring itself, red geraniums blooming like crazy on a white painted windowsill, and sweet peas climbing in reckless abandon up a picket fence, cheerfully covering up human neglect like peeling paint.
And I love pussywillows.
This morning, as I waited for my Keurig coffee maker to do its thing, I glanced up at a simple bouquet of pussywillows a friend had thoughtfully picked for me. I had arranged the branches in a sparkling clean jelly jar and placed them on a yellow shelf in my kitchen.
When I glanced at the bouquet, it was early morning and the sounds of silence left over from the night before still lingered in my modest bi-level home, only interrupted by the faint gurgle of the coffee maker. The room was sun kissed and tidy, not yet touched by the disarray of daily living.
The pussywillows, trapped in their crystal prison, nodded their soft grey heads at me, and suddenly, my mind, unbidden, went on a journey of its own.
I was driving down a dusty gravel road, jumping over a ditch where black water seeped menacingly through quack grass and rocks, finally, climbing through a barbed wire fence.
My running shoes sank almost to their tops in the oozing mud.
But it didn’t matter. I had my prize within reach. An explosion of pussywillows. I happily helped myself, eagerly breaking off the branches without the aid of scissors or knife.
How many springs have I done that? For sure, more springs than I can remember.
Sometimes with my dad as he drove an old ’49 Chevy down the road to somewhere, sometimes with my kids as they raced through childhood on an ever ending quest to grow up and most recently with my grandchildren.
And sometimes, just with me.
The coffee maker stopped gurgling. My coffee was ready, but I was not and the day was calling.
But, suddenly, for some reason in that particular moment, I felt an overwhelming sense of joy that catches us all sometimes, unaware. And I’m of the belief that such a feeling doesn’t need to be explained, nor should it.
My feeling of joy evaporated slightly when I forgot my coffee cup at home, discovered we were out of milk and the number on the scales in my bathroom went up instead of down, overnight.
But, even with the little crappy things that sneaked uninvited into my day, like pesky mosquitoes, I was quite pleased and even just a tiny bit smug that I knew what it was like to feel, for one fleeting moment in time, joy in the morning.
And I’m pretty sure, in fact, almost positive, it had something to do with those pussywillows.
Treena Mielke is the editor of the Rimbey Review and writes a regular column for The Pipestone Flyer.