Sunday, February 13, 2011


Hooray! The grocery store where I usually shop had primroses out front this week! A single rack filled with a dozen trays, happy hopeful flowers of bright yellow, deep red, and joyful pink.

In the world there are a lot more complex flowers than the primrose, more heat resistant, some better for arranging, some more flamboyant. But I think primroses the bravest, for they are the ones that show up first, and can keep themselves together, even if winter isn't quite through blasting us. They bravely go to the front lines of our imaginations, reminding us that there is more to life than winter and inversion and shades of gray, dead brown and more gray. "Spring is coming," they announce, "Somewhere under the snow there is hope".

It was warm enough on Saturday that I tied up my walking shoes and walked outside for the first time since November. The smell of things warming up was so wonderful that I started to get light headed from all the deep breathing. I was disgustingly cheerful as I called out to other walkers who couldn't resist getting out of the house as well. I live on a road that leads up to a lovely little canyon, and it was a steady stream of folks who just had to see for themselves if their favorite trails might not have disappeared completely after all the snow storms.

Though I had planned to walk at least two miles in any direction before turning around, my footsteps led me to the house of someone close by I know who started chemo therapy at the end of December. I worried I might be disturbing her, but her daughter showed me in and we had a great time chatting. She had been on a short walk that morning, but the second phase of chemo made her back ache, so she was curled up on the couch with a heating pad. She rubbed the few tufts of hair left on her head and said that should know soon if the second drug would allow her to keep what little hair was left. She was thrilled to say that even though she couldn't taste anything, at least her mouth didn't taste like chemicals anymore, and even though she didn't feel like moving much, she didn't feel like throwing up any more either. She thanked me for the gum and scentless lotion that I had brought previously like I had brought her something that took effort and talent. Her eyes, more pronounced with the weight loss, were bright and alert, and hopeful.

She's like those primroses, brave and hopeful. I liked primroses before, but they mean a little more to me now.