4/20/08

A letter to our daughter


Dear Flynn,
This is one of my favorite days of the year — the day on which I walk all across the city, photographing the trees that have just burst into bloom. This may not be the first day of spring on the calendar, but it's the first day of MY spring, the day I celebrate the season.
Of course I realize that your world, the world you were born into and the world of your heritage, has its own profound beauty — a beauty that is still foreign to me and which I can't yet fully imagine, having experienced it only in pictures. I don't know the sounds, the smells, the motion of a breeze tossing the trees that bring your world to life.
And you don't yet know the beauty of our world, the world that will someday (before too long, we hope!) be your second and future home.
I thought today, possibly my favorite day of the year, would be a good day to introduce you to that world: our world that will soon be your world.

Spring is a mercurial season in Colorado, swinging wildly in mood and temperament from one dawn to the following dusk. This spring has been no different. This is what our neighborhood looked like just a couple of days ago when I woke up...the newly greening lawn frosted with spring snow, every twig of each and every tree coated with fine, sharp crystals of ice.


And, miraculously, this is what our street looked like this afternoon — burst amazingly into lush, sultry bloom. I say miraculously, and it really does feel like a miracle this time of year. These are the times (and there are many of them) that I am just bowled over by what a beautiful, wondrous, miraculous world is this little planet that we live on.

If you are lucky - and this year we were - the white trees will flower first, followed by the pink a few days later. The white trees, the early bloomers, are the most fragile, and it is these that are often sacrificed to the vagaries of the spring climate. Some years, on the day that the white trees bloom, a snow will fall, turning their blossoms to yellow and then to shriveled brown. But on a lucky year, if the temperature is right and the sun rises in a benevolent mood on just the right morning, the white trees will open into full bloom...and let me tell you, Flynn, that is a sight to see. The flowering boughs seem to form swagged archways over the path as you walk, as if the world has been decorated for a particularly lavish wedding.

Like paper lanterns, the blooms hang fragile against the burnished sky, translucent and shuddering in the breeze.

Those same twigs that were so recently coated in ice are now frosted instead in a dense, weightless garment of papery petals, showering drifts of fragrance down onto the sidewalk. If you are so lucky as to be walking underneath when the breeze blows just right, you might find yourself bathed in that fragrance for a single, heavenly moment, before the wind comes through and replaces it with the scent of newly-turned earth from someone's garden nearby, or the intoxicating aroma of fresh-cut grass.

At street level, the bulbs that people planted with such care the previous fall are opening into tulips, daffodils and crocus, brightening the pavement like clusters of painted eggs at Easter.

Crabapple blossoms, not yet in the full glory of their bloom, throw gaudy shadows onto adobe walls in the unaccustomed heat of the new season. In the fullness of a few more warm days, the crabapples that line Cherry Creek will have opened their deep pink petals, casting a blush across the city.



Each tree has a different texture, and spreads its boughs in a different fashion. Each has its own beauty, its own character and its own perfume. Notice how the exultant white branches of one tree seem to reach straight for the sky, while the spiky pink branches of another spread wide like the hands of a curious child reaching for a toy.

Note the contrast in textures as the tender, just-born blooms of a fruit tree spread in front of the stoic, prickly bristles of an evergreen.

Notice the difference in shade between one pink bloom an another, this one just a little more russet, that one fuscia at the tips and purpled at the bud.

One of my favorite things about our city is the particular terracotta red of its bricks and stonework, the color of the red earth of the desert lands to the west of our state, the color of clay pots baked in the sun, the color of sunset in Rome. When the pink lace of the blooming trees opens against this burnt sienna brick in the spring, it's pure magic.


A single bough, during this one week of full bloom, in the midst of this perfect day (should you happen to catch it at just the right moment), is as perfect in its beauty as the richest decor created by the most skilled of artisan in the most exalted palace of the richest kingdom on earth.

Another sure sign of spring is colorful kayaks on the Platte river, the wide, slow, shallow, sandy waterway which runs through the center of the city and then out into the prairie lands to the East.

Artful city workers plant pink tulips in the trainyards that bisect our historic neighborhood of Northwest Denver from the bustling hub of LoDo.

Sometimes, the quality of a certain day can make you see things that you never saw before, even on a street you've walked a dozen times or even a hundred, like this funny robot I noticed on a shop door.

It's a brief moment in time, this perfect day, during which each tree wears a special outfit, different from its ordinary garb. Before long, each tree will shed its carnival finery and re-clothe itself in its uniform of summer leaves. But for now, it is another creature entirely - something more exotic, something other-wordly. Just for now. Just for today.

On a day like this, as the light changes and the sun sinks toward the western horizon, beauty can be found in the most unexpected places, like this magical light sneaking down a humble alley, transforming the ordinary into something extraordinary.




As the sun begins to set, light plays tricks, changing once again, for a moment, the character of every house, every tree. Is this house really the blue of an Arabian twilight? Maybe not during the day. But it is right now. Are the blossoms of this tree so graceful at noon as they are at this time of day? Probably not. But for the moment, they are a thing unrivaled, a thing of utmost and unparalleled beauty.

At this magical time of day, light snags in a sprig of blossom and huddles for a moment in the crook of a branch before sliding away again into shadow.

Sun spangles, for a moment, a cluster of tiny flowers, setting them sparkling like a thousand stars.

The world becomes misty, and although the gentle heat stays, lingering through the long, early-summer twilight, the world becomes softer, shyer, more demure.

The white of river rock blends with the white of a flowering tree, changing the face of a streetcorner in the last of the lingering light.

New leaves, just recently unfurled from tight, amber buds, spread slightly wider to absorb the last rays of sun.

As twilight deepens under the eaves, neighborhood houses become enchanted places, full of mystery, and the sun plays hide-and-seek down shady side streets.

Another harbinger of spring in this part of the world, the red-breasted robins become bold at twilight, chasing after evening insects.

The world becomes translucent as rice paper, light as confetti. For a moment, the atmosphere weighs hardly at all upon this part of the globe.

If you turn to the west and look down a street, the proscenium of the Rocky Mountains appears papery and shrouded in mist, as exotic and mystical as the islands during that Bali Ha'i number in the musical South Pacific...blue and lavender silhouettes against a gilded sky.

This will be your home, Flynn. These will be the things that you will discover. You will interpret them in your own way. You will read different metaphors than those which I've seen today. You will see with different eyes, and notice details that I haven't noticed. I hope that you will share them with me. Maybe next spring we will be walking these streets together, you and I. Maybe you will be adding your eyes and your thoughts to mine. I hope so.
Love, your mother-to-be.

13 comments:

Carrie&Aaron said...

very nice- I love the two story House pic-I am drawn to those types of houses!

Stefanie said...

How blessed Miss Flynn will be to have a mama who notices the beauty in everything... both the obvious and the hidden. You have such an eye, Maia!!
Can't WAIT to share in your joy when Flynn comes HOME :)

Alana said...

amazing. Thanks for sharing your lovely ode to spring with us. How lucky Flynn is. You are amazing.

Vivian M said...

The only thing I am not in agreement with is your ending. You are not Flynn's mother to be. You ARE her Mommy already. You have been from the start. From the moment you chose her name, started the paperwork, dreamt of her in your life. Regardless what a piece of paper says. You have always been her Mom and do not need a date or paper to know it. It may not be legal yet, but it is real and spiritual. She may not be in your arms yet, but she is in your heart and mind.
And I agree that your post is amazing, because you are amazing and already are an amazing Mommy.
And now I confess I felt guilty for reading your post...because I felt that was something so intimate, for your daughter alone. But I appreciate your sharing it with us, because it opens my eyes to the beauty I walk by every day and sometimes do not notice or take for granted. And that I should point out to Kerri more often. Thank you for that reminder.
Hugs!

Mamacita said...

Oh, she's a lucky little girl!

kris said...

1. Tears just pooled in my eyes reading this- the love and warmth in your words, your desire to share yourself, your world, with your daughter. Incredible. Beautiful.

2. I need to move to Colorado.

Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

love, love, love it... I wanted you to keep going... looking forward to more... Flynn is going to be one lucky little girl... yes, like Stefanie said that you see the beauty in everything... one thing though... makes me want to head off to Colorado just as bad... take care

Yoli said...

I agree with Vivian, she is already your daughter Maia. She will appreciate her mother's artistic eye and heart. She will make you see the world differently and she will impart a love of things as of yet unknown.

Your home town is beautiful. I enjoyed so much your letter to Flynn. It is funny how places shape who we are. How is the pace in Colorado? Just wondering. Here, everyone is so laid back, too laid back, I think. I feel like yelling, put some shoes on people!

Laurie said...

Wow. Colorado should HIRE you to promote it! :-) Seriously - I don't know which was lovelier - the text or the photos. Can't wait for you to share your world with your daughter!

kerri said...

I love the world through your beautiful, artistic eyes.
Flynn will be so lucky to have you guiding her through life, showing her the beauty the world has to offer. ;)

Heather said...

There is indeed beauty everywhere. You captured it in all of these gorgeous pictures, but I think the most beautiful things about this post is the glimpse it gives of the mother you will be... soon.

Margaret Miracle said...

so stunningly beautiful in words and pictures. Flynn is so blessed to be coming to such a beautiful home and to two such loving parents. I can't wait to watch the magic. Spring is such a time for new beginnings. I am so happy for you and your family as you rejoice in all of the pure joys of this spring.

that girl said...

Dear Mom, I am the luckiest girl in the world. Love, Flynn