I went for a walk today, photographing the early glimpses of spring.
When I was young, my dad would go out when the cherry blossoms started blooming and pick a small branch to place in a vase at the center of our dining table. Sometimes the trees around us would flower twice (though not from the same buds) before the dry summer: first, when we received a couple-week-long break in the rain before it was officially spring, and again when the sunshine started to more permanently warm the branches after the rainy season had started to peter out for good. Despite never minding the rain, I always looked forward to these beautiful reminders that the winter storms were behind us.
It’s shaping up to be a two-bloom year. California may be in the middle of an El Nino season, but we have also received two weeks of dry, warm weather this February, and the cherry, plum, and dogwood blossoms are featured prominently on suburban streets and in urban parks alike.
But with rain’s return forecasted for later in the week, all too soon these blossoms will be washed away. We will remain hopeful that flowers will reappear in all their glory in a month or two, and we will cherish that this was a year of early blooming, but we will mourn this loss of color and beauty.
As I cherish these moments and prepare for imminent loss, I ponder the age-old question: Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? Would we better off without these early blossoms, because just as we begin to hope that winter is ending, this bright hope is snatched away from us?
In my family we are mourning a loss of something far more precious and beautiful than cherry blossoms. We are morning the loss of a baby, a heartbeat seen and a heartbeat lost. And I wonder, with bitterness at times, why this bright hope was given only to be snatched away. If only I had never seen a heartbeat, I tell myself. If only I had miscarried before knowing what it was I carried. If only I had never loved at all.
But when I really consider this season of our lives, I realize that if this loss were to happen all over again, I would still want to experience the joys that came with encountering a new life, knit together with a purpose yet unknown.
As for it being a two-bloom year? It is something I cannot even begin to ponder at this point. A second burst of color does not erase the memories or replace the beauty of February blossoms. But like the flowering trees that will surely flower once more, the beautiful story of our family doesn’t end here, we pray for brighter days ahead, and we dare whisper hope of another life.