Life is a fragile and delicate thing

It was way too early. But never mind, spring still came to the prairie last week. The sun was bright and the sky blue. The breezes were light and the temperature soothing.
The Carolina Wren that stayed with us all winter trilled and twittered in delight. Dozens of bright sunny yellow crocuses dared to lift their heads. Phoebe danced and chased her toy in the backyard.
We took a walk by the stream in the middle of the day. And I was sure that all the problems of my life were manageable.
There’s simply nothing like a sunny spring day to heal the soul and make you feel good about every facet of your life.
But then came Thursday and just as The Weather Channel had said, a nasty late winter storm roared off the mountains and straight across the plains.
Most of the heavy snow was gone by the time it got here but the chill and the meanness were still there. And the rush of wind swept the prairie clean of its beauty and warmth.
Somehow it doesn’t seem right for winter to overtake spring like that. It’s the wrong order for things to happen in. And I resented it. I’ve always resented it–the fact that the beauty and joy of life can so easily be shattered by one moment of tragedy or meanness.
Last Thursday, especially, I couldn’t help pondering at length on that fragility, and how little we can hold on to the things we really care about. My thinking led me to remember a poignant poem I read more than 40 years ago entitled, “Sometimes,” by Miriam Sieber Lind.
At the time, the poet and I both lived in the hills of western Pennsylvania. I experienced the spring, and she wrote about it.
“Spring’s April,” she called it, with violets and crocuses and “twigs thickening with buds.” I knew exactly what she felt. I’d walked the hills and seen the flowers. And it was so beautiful!
But in a poignant thought to follow, the wise young poet cautioned about the fleeting beauty for “Sometimes when it is so/Comes snow . . .” Cold, bitter, bone-chilling snow in April.
And it’s the same with life–“Love’s April” with the “warm winds of laughter blowing.” The lines make you feel so good until she reminds us that even then “Sometimes, beyond belief/Comes grief . . .”
Grief . . . in April.
The poet was young but she already knew what each of us needs to learn as soon as possible. Life is short, and you must capture the joy and beauty as they come to you.
How different life would be if we had forever! We could afford to neglect the people we care about. We could say a mean word now and then, and procrastinate the things we most want to get done in life.
We could put money first, knowing we’d have plenty of time for the important things later. We could wait to have coffee with a friend.
But that’s not the way it is. Not at all. Life is a fragile and delicate thing–and every moment must be treasured.
So what do you want to do before it’s too late? What picture would you like to paint? What flowers do you want to plant? What friend would you like to visit? What laughter could you create?
As you answer those questions, always remember life is a gift and it’s meant to be enjoyed.

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