Spring Sticks Its Chin Out

The third day of spring started off around 20 degrees. The southwest wind had spent the night throwing itself at my window. And before I left for my morning walk, I put on double warm pants and a thick coat, what I'd wear if the world were deep in wintertime.

Outside, the branches were bare and brown, plants in their pots were bare and brown, all greens and blooms cut down by winter. Cyclists were swaddled up to their eyes. People had hands stuffed deep into pockets and exhaled billows of breath into the ruthless morning air. Spring, it would seem, didn't stand a chance.

I walked northeast down the sidewalk, away from the wind, though it still found me. I quickened, ready to be out of the chill and bare and winter of it all.

But before I found my full stride, I saw this little tree just off the sidewalk. It had slim, gray branches that came up to my ribs. And at the end of those branches were flowers. Not buds. Not blossoms. Flowers. Wide open flowers. Like each petal was sticking its chin out into the wind, defying the ruthless morning air.

I stopped and looked at that little tree. Weather will be weather, I thought, but you'll bloom your wide open bloom no matter what, won't you? Just like Pablo Neruda said, "You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep spring from coming."

And I started down the sidewalk through the ruthless morning air thinking it wouldn't hurt to be as defiant as springtime.

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