Rosie wrote a song about spring to sing at open mic at my mom’s coffee shop in town last week. Her first experience a few months ago singing her own song in front of a crowd gave her the confidence she needed to do it again. She’s only five, let me remind you, but no “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” for her. She insisted I get out my pen and my guitar and help set her idea to music. “Spring is the best time of the year. It’s so happy and full of cheer.”
Yes girl, yes it is. The snow banks are melting and the creek is rising and the mud on our boots is sticky and tracking into the house and everything is dirty and a combination of brown and blue and gold. And so these suddenly become our favorite colors when white has been our existence for all of these long cold months.
“Easter comes by and it’s so fun. Because there are Easter egg hunts,” she sang, her little legs dangling off the chair, the microphone in both hands held up close to her mouth so we could all hear her words.
Rosie’s my hero. It’s possible I’ve said this before, but in case I haven’t, I am saying it again. She has been since I met her. Her very existence was improbable given the fact that I struggled for so long to keep a pregnancy. We had our first daughter and thought that might be it for us, but we tried again anyway thinking it could possibly take another ten years. But Rosie was ready to be born and so she didn’t make us wait. She came to us quick and easy at the height of one of the most difficult times my family has endured, my dad clinging to life in a hospital bed in Minnesota and his future so unsure. We gave his name to her, Rosalee Gene, because the belief that he would ever meet her was nothing but a faint light. She was a sweet distraction, a quiet force for hope that can come even in the most desperate and dark moments. She made no fuss about it. She just breathed and sucked and pooped and lived and as she grew my dad grew stronger and here we are with both of them at the ranch waiting for the snow to melt off and the baby calves to be born. Spring is hope and renewal and so it reminds me of my second daughter, singing so confidently this song about her favorite season.
“Outside the window spring is here. Bunnies and chicks and baby deer.”
Lately there has been so much tragedy exploding from the news feed, and our small communities here in western North Dakota have not been immune to it. Renewal and hope aren’t easy words to sit with when loss and uncertainty sit heavy in your guts. But time continues to change the season. Time continues to move, eventually bringing with it a thaw. The water breaks free under the ice and rushes the draws.
In a week or so we will have baby calves on the ground, still wet out of the womb. In a few more the bravest flowers and buds will start to emerge at the coaxing of a warm sun. The pair of geese will return to the stock dam outside our house. The wild plum blossoms will dot the brush with vivid green and we will climb to the top of a hill to find a dry spot and lay down in it, knowing well that it could storm again the next day, burying the ground and the new buds and babies in the chill of a white blanket. But it will be hard to imagine it then with the warm spring sun on our bare arms. If you’ve forgotten what hope is, nature can remind you.
“A big blue sky and bumblebees. Tweet-ely birds and green green trees,” Rosie sings into the microphone to a small crowd of community members gathering for coffee. They tap their feet and hum the tune on their drive home…