This year, for the first time, we forced forsythia.
Let me explain.
Forsythia is the first plant to bloom in these parts. Its buds begin turning to stunning yellow flowers as the first days of spring arrive.
But this year has been cold.
Much colder than normal. And so the forsythia stayed put, afraid to come out of its plant cocoon, staying inside lest the cold kill or harm it.
We went to my mom’s house for Easter in New York state and she had bright branches of forsythia on her windowsill in a vase. “Your forsythia is blooming” we cried! “Ours still hasn’t come out”
We were desperate for forsythia – a sign of spring, a sign of hope, a sign of new life. The fall and winter felt like they have held so much that is not life-giving, much walking in the dark, feeling around for markers on the journey. We wanted forsythia. We wanted spring.
My mom replied that her forsythia was not yet blooming either. “You know” she said “You can cut the branches and it will bloom inside”. We had no idea.
So we did. My husband cut large branches and we stuck them in water. We forced them to bloom. We brought them in, put them in a warmer spot and in two days we had bright, beautiful yellow blossoms.
We had forced the forsythia to bloom and brighten our lives.
I’m not sure all the lessons in this. But I know this – sometimes, when all around me seems dead and ugly, I need to force forsythia. I need to do something to force growth, to create change, to bring beauty.
When all around us seemed dead, we needed to force forsythia to see signs of new life.
This week marks a new beginning. A healing of Cambridge and Boston, the cities where I both live and work. Since last Monday at 3pm eastern standard time, there has been terror, death, loss, and hopelessness.
It would be easy to continue to drown ourselves in news, to keep track of every aspect of this case, to shout for revenge. But none of those things bring about true healing. Sometimes healing starts by embracing beauty, by voicing gratitude for the amazing signs of life that surround us.
My friend Sara of The Roving Home posted a beautiful picture of her baby girl, Francie on her Facebook wall. The caption above the picture said this:
“Francie at the beach yesterday, making the world better through cuteness.” Francie simply by being made me remember beauty and the gift of life.
As we’re shaking in the aftermath of sorrow and ugly we begin to surround ourselves with beauty – with light and life and all that is lovely. Forcing forsythia to bloom and change us.
And we begin to heal.