When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.
Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,This is just the first part of Whitman's long poem, which I just reread, to remind myself why it moved me so much when I was a young woman who had never personally known the loss of any loved ones. In the poem he breaks a sprig with the flower on it and as a funeral procession passes by, he lays the lilac on the coffin. As he listens to a singing bird, he writes the poem (to my mind at least) as his elegy to his loved one who is gone from the earth, as well as to the movement of life and death that carries us all within it.
Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,
And thought of him I love.
Not only the lilacs, but the flowers are everywhere in bloom, blossoming fruit trees, bursting tulips and unidentified fragrances waft through the air these days. It's April, almost May, and I wonder about the melancholy that I keep feeling in the morning when I wake. It also seems to be present in a number of the authors of the blogs I read regularly. Does spring do that to everyone? Or is it just me and a few others? Whitman speaks very eloquently of his sense of mourning that is brought on by the ever-returning spring. Perhaps that's what is causing this feeling: the bursting forth of the riot of life that happens after the sleeping winter.
Two weeks ago when I forgot to write this Sunday post, I was bursting with excitement about going to the Drop Zone in Snohomish to play with my friends. Eventually that morning I got my post written, because I am driven to follow my own self-imposed rules of weekly activity, and every Sunday morning I sit in bed with my laptop while my partner sleeps, and I write a post that usually begins to flow out of my thoughts, sometimes easily and other times, like this morning, haltingly as I find my way into my creative muse.
Two weeks ago I made two skydives and had a wonderful day, driving home in the sunshine, well spent afterwards, making my way north the 75 miles that separates Snohomish from Bellingham. Today I am also hoping to get down there, but the weather is nowhere near as promising, with light rain falling at the moment and overcast skies down south. I may or may not end up going today, but two weeks ago when I drove away from my friends in the early afternoon, I felt the beginning of the season and the certainty that we would spend many days this summer playing together in what might be my last skydiving season. It's either this summer or next, I can feel it coming, and it also makes me mourn for that which is changing and falling away.
Even though there is nothing to keep me from continuing to skydive until I end up getting injured, it's not the way I want to end my career. People get more fragile as they age, and I can feel the aches and pains of life in my body that warn me not to overextend myself. Although I can still walk ten miles with the Trailblazers every week, it's not without moaning and groaning afterwards. I'm just grateful that everything still functions as well as it does, but I also know that pushing myself too far is counterproductive. Nobody has to remind me on Friday mornings (we hike on Thursdays) that I am almost seventy. I feel every minute of it.
But as the days go by, each day I feel less stiff and sore. Yesterday I got an hour-long massage, which I schedule every third Friday. I would get one every other week if I could afford it, but as it is, I look forward to the ministrations of dear Sarah as she helps my muscles to relax. It's also very nice to feel the integration of my body after a good massage. I began to get a regular massage after the skydiving accident I suffered in 2000. Now I cannot imagine going for too long without one. It's a kind of healing touch that feels essential to my overall health.
If I don't get to go skydiving today, I think I'll go for a nice walk and take along my camera to capture all the beauty around me today. This is the fourth spring I've experienced here since we moved to the Pacific Northwest, and there's really nothing like it. The cherry tree in the front yard is in full bloom, which only lasts one short week before the white blossoms fall and the green leaves take over. I am very content with my life, but stopping to remember those I love who are gone is never far from me during this beautiful spring season. Remembering them, loving the birdsong, the heady scents in the air, and the transitory nature of it all, it's all of a piece.