Tuesday, March 21, 2006

missedteria mysteria

A few weeks ago, when the crocuses first peeped out, Allison and I were talking about spring and blossoms and my affinity for them. She mentioned that the wisteria wouldn’t be as magnificent this year as last, because it alternates years of brilliance. I did remember only making one comment two years ago, but last year I was overwhelmed by it. I even had to promise to stop blogging about it. It was everywhere in unbelievable abundance.
I remember 12 years ago, we had a tornado at the end of January and it did so much damage that the wisteria was all but annihilated that spring. I was sad that wooded areas around town had been changed, but I felt deeply for the missing wisteria that wasn’t there to surprise and lift me around every corner.

So Allison had warned me, this year wouldn’t be as purple as last. “It will still be there,” she told me, “but you’ll have to look for it.” Just like me, I thought. I know there is purple in there somewhere, but it is not bursting to get out like it did last year. I’ve got to dig deep. Look under the khaki and green.
But I wasn’t looking for it two weeks early, when it first called to me last Wednesday afternoon off North Main Street. It was sparse, but present. We turned around to go back and see it again. Over the past few days, it has popped up here and there – a couple blooms along Farming Creek Road, a spray along Irmo Drive. So tonight, as I took Allison downtown for a dance class, I grabbed my camera to get a pic of the purple along Irmo Drive. Once downtown, I realized that it would be dark by the time I got back and wondered if I could find some down there. I drove south of the Vista and found it abundant in a small area among some warehouses.
As I mentioned last year, I have an affinity with wisteria. I identify with the beauty that can come of melancholy. I understand the gorgeous falling melodic sighs of the madrigal. I understand the catharsis of the Greek tragedy, and I understand the beauty in the flowing purple tears. How, when everything is being reborn, can there be tears? But there they are, no less beautiful than any of the other new birth. They are tears of childbirth, tears of the neonatal. Everything given life in this fallen world feels pain. There were tears in its fall and tears in its redemption. They are tears endured for the joy that is coming.
As beautiful as they are, they are fleeting, like all blossoming symbols. Life is made of seasons, life is a season. As the tiny purple teardrops fall, and dry on ground, I am reminded that the sorrow only lasts for the night.
Last year purple flowed and oozed and ran along every roadside, from every tree and bush, it dripped down fences, over evergreens, guardrails, and trellises. Intentional purple, accidental purple, surprising purple, bubbling up and overtaking the baby greens. This year it is seeping and dripping among the earth tones. It’s pushing its way to the surface and dotting the plainer colors with splashes, but not overtaking. I have to choose to focus on the purple or all I can see are the surrounding grays, browns and greens.
I’m reminded that joy finds its source outside ourselves and therefore can’t be extinguished with sadness. Too bad we’re taught that joy is an emotion, something that is only there if we feel it. Joy is something we have, we’ve been given, it is hope. It is the purple in the dripping tears.