I went for a walk this morning, indulging my senses in the sights, scents, and smells of a glorious day in spring, a day that hinted shyly of new life slowly emerging from the grip of a long, cold winter.
And it seemed as I walked, the dark cloud of worry about COVID-19 that has hung over me unrelentingly the last few weeks dissipated ever so slightly.
This cloud has descended on me ever since the virus, with the lightening speed of an out- of- control wildfire, touched down on my daughter and every member of her family.
But as I walked down that dusty, familiar road it seemed the sights and sounds of nature did what they were supposed to.
They calmed my soul and slowed down my racing repetitive thoughts that all seem to start with “what if?”
It is true the family is recovering from COVID-19. It is true they did not need to be hospitalized.
But it is also true that they all experienced the harsh, unrelenting symptoms of COVID, shortness of breath, chills, fever, and complete and utter exhaustion.
And as a mom and grandma, worrying seemed to be the one thing that I did best. In fact, I think I excelled at it.
And every time the phone would ring, and I would hear an anxious voice on the other end of the line telling me which family member had it now, and what their symptoms were, one thing I knew for sure.
I had it, too.
Of course, I didn’t.
But, as the days went on and lots of prayers and good and healing thoughts went out from myself and all my friends that I called upon in desperation, each one of that family slowly began the road to recovery.
And much to my delight, the big pan of lasagna that I set on their front steps got eaten not because they had to force food down sore throats.
But because they were hungry. Also, it was delicious if I do say so myself.
And, as each step of my walk takes me closer to a little hidden stream tucked away in a grove of trees at the end of this road, I start to notice things. And I think, as I become an observer, my step becomes a little lighter and I find myself smiling at other walkers as I pass them by.
First, I notice the shy green leaves beginning to cover the starkness of the trees standing like still and silent soldiers on each side of the road.
And suddenly as I stare at them, I am not on this road anymore. I am transported back to an old house, not much more than a shack really. The house where I grew up.
And in my mind’s eye I see it again. An old kitchen table, scrubbed and bare except for a simple bouquet of the new green leaves of spring, carefully placed in an old canning jar.
We did it every year. We picked a bouquet of green leaves. My dad and me. It was a ritual, a tribute to spring.
And I remember another spring not so many years later. My white wedding veil flutters in the May breezes and, all around me, the new green leaves of summer decorate God’s own cathedral with a simple kind of beauty befitting a day such as this.
May 17. My wedding day. It was so good to be young then, young like the green leaves of summer, when life was new and full of promise.
But now here they are again.
Those green leaves of summer. And once again I am reminded that for everything there is a season and a time for everything under the sun.
And surely joy will come in the morning.
And COVID-19 will slip back into the shadows of the past where it belongs.
Treena Mielke is a central Alberta writer. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.