It’s spring in Switzerland. Dandelions bloom golden under airy brides of cherry and pear trees. The birds trill their cheeriest melodies for prospective mates. There really wasn’t ever what can be called a proper ‘winter’ this year. Hardly was there a time when a flower didn’t bloom somewhere; the grass was green all year. But when I first breathed in the cool damp earth on a nightly walk home I knew the winter was past.
Spring is new life. New life always springs from what was already there, with the prospect of new things ahead. So it is with this blog. There’s been a winter of over a year, and now it is spring. A new beginning, sprung from the past, with the promise of good things.
I started this day attending a birthday breakfast for a friend who just turned 50. Ten of us ‘girls’ gathered around a table lovingly laid and filled by her tiny wren of a mother-in-law. I haven’t laughed so much in a long time. There was serious talk too, but there was always laughter again. We made it home just in time for lunch.
The village church bells were already ringing. They always ring at noon if there is a funeral that afternoon, to remind everyone to get ready. Funerals are at 1:30 p.m. I was going too. I didn’t know the 47-year-old man who was being buried, who had taken his life in prison a year after he murdered what they said today was his beloved wife. I did know his mother though, a gentle sweet soul who sits beside my quite dement mother-in-law at the care home. It was for the mother I went. I already knew that she’d had a difficult life, mostly because of an abusive husband, who passed away of cancer a few months ago. I wish things could have been different for her. And I wonder what was behind the tragedy of this man’s life, which according to the eulogy had looked so promising until a short time ago. He committed suicide on April Fools day. Was that supposed to be a bad joke, or was it just coincidence?
A friend has been in the hospital for ten days already with acute asthma issues. I’d promised her ten-year-old daughter I would drop by this afternoon. I was met at the door by her Italian husband, job-less now for some time. The girl was curled on the couch, pale, clutching a basin. She’d been throwing up since two in the morning. I ran over to the store for some Coca-Cola and pretzel sticks and wiped her face with a cold towel. When I left an hour later, my ears full of her Dad’s stories of Italian feasts, she was doing much better.
I think I’m ready for the couch and a cup of tea!