While I was looking through some old pictures the other day, I ran across this one. It's among my favorite "Mama pictures." The two of us are introducing my baby cousin to some new puppies. (My baby cousin has a husband and children now:) Some things—like airplanes and big cities—make my mother very nervous, but she has always been right at home in the natural world. She and Daddy have a way of introducing children to nature so that they feel entirely safe and mighty adventurous all at the same time.
Over the weekend, Mama called to inform me that "Monday is the first day of spring!" The coming of spring, she said, just makes her feel better about the world—especially when all the garden centers start bringing in the ferns, petunias, hydrangeas, geraniums, hibiscus . . . (She always says she's "cutting back this year," but then the seed catalogs arrive, and she's done for.)
I have pictures of her—garden hose in hand—having deep conversations with children in our family while they "helped her" water her flowers. And quite a few Mama-with-toddler-in-creek images. I remember wandering the woods with Daddy in the spring and summer, peppering him with "Are you sure you know where we're going?" questions until we'd round a bend or trek down a hill, and there would be the perfect creek for wading.
Sometimes, with all the craziness of human making that bombards us all day every day, we can overlook the reassurance of Creation—the cycle of winter passing and spring coming again. Of puppies coming into the world and toddlers experiencing their first lick on the cheek. Spring is coming.