On Turning Nineteen

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My eyes flutter open, and my legs swing out onto the floor. The blind goes up, and WHITE. It’s all I can see. I reach for my glasses and squint. Blink several times. Pretty! It snowed last night!

The snow wasn’t a surprise – coworkers and customers were gloomily discussing it all day yesterday. I guess we all expected the weathermen to be wrong again, like they usually are. I didn’t take the prediction seriously. But there had been a strong wind all weekend through, and I should have believed that that wind could blow in just about anything.

But when I awoke, after sleep had erased expectations, I was surprised. Wow. Okay, yeah, I should have seen this coming. I should have remembered. But anyway, cool!

This is exactly how turning nineteen feels.

The eighteenth has been the best year of my life so far. I’m a little sentimental about leaving it, but I think I’ll be okay. I was suddenly seized by a desperate desire for the future, which is comforting — because I was the eighteen-year-old at CBS making fun of the nineteen- and twenty-year-olds and all their wrinkles. I was happy in my warm blanketed age, and scared of the day I would have to embrace the new one.

So being suddenly seized by a desperate desire for the future has been a balm which has soothed my fears and tremors of growing up. All I could think about today was what’s going to happen in the next two years, and it caused great excitement! My life and the events leading up to now have been amazing and incredible. How can I think the next five years will be any less?

I’ve been told life only gets better with time. Praise the good LORD, I think they’re right.

Something’s Green Around Here

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I tug open the window, thrust my head into the cool, still evening air, and breathe. Inhaling the fresh scent of spring, my eyes relish the sight of a jetstream piercing the blue-soft-orange gradient of the western sky. The air is still, then shattered with the cry of a blue jay. I spot him in the topmost branch of a neighboring pine tree. Ah. As beautiful as the city is in the winter, there is nothing more refreshing than the country in spring.

Pulling on a light jacket, wrapping my head and neck in a scarf, and tugging on my boots, I step out into the backyard, heading towards the woods and the sunset. I have no destination or special purpose in mind, although the camera is slung around my body does provide me an occupation. It’s not long before my boots sink into soft ground, and water fills into my prints. The meadows are wet with recent rain, and everything dead and brown has soaked up all the moisture it could hold over the winter and now lies flat and laden, on the soft green earth. An emerald hue has spread across the fields, slopes, and paths. Tender shoots of grass poke up through the sad foliage as if to say, “Cheer up! Don’t forget about me!” I slow my pace to a meander in order to better hear the song of the robins and sparrows as they flit about in the young trees bordering the woods. I stop, squat down, and pick up a patch of moss that has grown around the base of a tree. Bringing it up to my eyes, I marvel at the delicate heads that unfurl themselves from delicate stems. Lit by the evening sun, the tiny life glows transparent and I wonder how all this growth happens inside such a tiny thing.

Squish. I’ve sunk into the mud of a small valley, beside the stream that gurgles its way over rocks, around bends, and over several little waterfalls. Again I lean down. The foliage here is rich and lush. The grass grows thick and unhindered. It bends to my step, and leaves a print that is still visible when I leave the valley and climb back to firmer ground.

Something about springtime. There’s just something in the air. Something new, fresh, never seen before. Surprise resurrections. Things you never would have expected burst out of their shell to dazzle you. I’ve dreamed of getting married in the fall, holding hands in the winter, and picnicking in the summer, but I’ve always longed to fall in love during spring. Something about the planting, the anticipation, then the glee when the first little seedling lifts its head above the dirt.

As I turn my back on the setting sun, I lift my eyes to the hills facing me, where the shadow of the earth is rapidly ascending to the tips of the trees. The light at the edge of the shadow is the warmest gold. But the air is cold, and my cheeks burn with the chill. I stop just outside my door, remembering the beauty of the evening’s vista. As I turn toward the inside, my heart cradles the memory, knowing that the beauty of the night will outshine all I saw in the daylight.

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