Spring — Beautiful and Bittersweet - The Missourian: Features People

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Spring — Beautiful and Bittersweet

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Posted: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 7:00 pm

There’s nothing as breathtaking as Shaw Nature Reserve when carpets of daffodils bring soft shades of sunshine-yellow to the meadows. Sunday morning was crisp and cloudless as I sat in the white-pillared gazebo at the edge of the Whitmire Wildflower Garden.

If only my words could paint pictures on the page and eloquently express the glory of spring at this lovely spot. Off in the distance Pinetum Lake wasn’t broken by a ripple, the gusty wind of Saturday calmed to a gentle breeze, making only a light jacket necessary as I sat like a queen surrounded by the beauty of a fairyland kingdom, enveloped by the song of birds, the laughter of children and scent of the woods and warm soil coming back to life.

The only thing that would have made the morning better was to have had our five grandchildren at Shaw posing among the flowers, cooperating as I directed them to turn this way and that continuing a tradition begun when they were just babies.

Our albums and computer are full of these pictures, Miles holding his little brother Reed on lap, and a few years later Phoebe decked out in a girly, pastel dress, what else, her tight, blond curls catching the light as she bent from the waist to go face to face with a ruffled flower.

That memory and so many more documented and dated over the years, photos to look back on in wonderment, marveling about how fast time passes and children grow.

Our granddaughter Avery, a first-grader now, and her sister Parker, age 3, also made the trek to Shaw — fair-skinned brunettes with eyes as big as moons stepping daintily among the blooms, fields where they once had to be propped up in a sitting position, pictures snapped before they’d teeter over.

This year finds Avery proud that she can read by herself, picture books and chapter tales, books tucked under the covers when it’s “lights out,” a menagerie of cuddly, stuffed animals keeping her company, as well as Parker already asleep in the next bed.

Spring is so sweet — so welcome — so busy. April spins out of control with birthdays and busyness, followed by mad May, with anniversaries, more birthdays, graduations and parties.

For the first time, some of our grandchildren might not make it to Shaw for the annual daffodil show. I understand how duties call. This year the late winter snow, and unseasonal cold, messed with our free time — delayed seasonal jobs then pushed them to the forefront. Suddenly there are garages with grit to sweep out, weeds and bare lawn spots to take care of, beds to mulch and porch furniture to drag up from the basement.

Welcome bad backs and strained hamstrings and the realization that we aren’t able to bag quite as many leaves as we used to in an afternoon or dig up all the monkey grass that’s choking out the tulips that will soon burst with color more vibrant than any found in a jumbo box of crayons.

Nothing marks the passage of time like a change of season, bringing to light the memories of times past and cautious questioning about things to come. Acceptance seems to be the key to happiness and contentment — the realization that though things are different than they used to be, that traditions may change as children get older, new experiences, perhaps just as sweet and memorable, will move in to take their place as surely as the fields of daffodils at Shaw Nature Reserve will appear again, inviting a new generation of little ones to come and frolic in their fields of sunshine-yellow.

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