Jane Howell dragged her patent leather shoes, toe first (alternating feet) just so she could hear the scritchy sound of her soles against the sidewalk. Jane’s mother scolded her weekly about taking better care of her footwear (and the family’s budget) but the temptation was too hard to resist.
Jane dreaded going straight home on a day like today–there was more sunshine in the sky this warm afternoon that she could ever remember. The towering umbrellas of cherry trees along the way left lacy shadows on the ground and she felt as if she were stepping on gossamer carpets floating above the ground. Never mind there was nothing but gray and white patterns in the solid concrete at her feet.
People she met greeted her along the way and kept saying, “It feels like spring is in the air.” She wondered if they meant that flutter of pink she saw in the flowering cherry trees overhead. But the daffodils along the way, like tall green soldiers in their salmon and yellow helmets, weren’t in the air. They were right there next to her, lining the green lawns.
Sally Jones’ flowerbeds were full of them, exploding like ground-borne fireworks. Mr. Sheffield had planted some, too, bright announcements lining his fenceway. Jane remembered last Fall three weeks into September when the days were rainy and cool. There was Mr. Sheffield down on his knees, faded hat on his head, a spade sparkling against the late afternoon sun, planting promises.
Then here came the arc of Spring all these months later, slowing Jane down with its riot of color and silent beauty, a palette of nature’s paintbox poured out just for her.
Yes, Jane definitely did not want to go home just yet. Spring was in the air. She wanted to hear one more slide of soles against the sidewalk while she held this glory of promise in her pockets for another day.
I had the remarkable pleasure of hearing photographer Joy Prouty speak in 2019 at a retreat for Christian creatives and this little story came out of her promptings. She shared a spoken word poem with us and asked us to respond to one of the lines that stood for us. This was the line for me. “The heart is the bravest muscle.” I’d never written any little make-believe stories before, and inspired by Joy’s love of daffodils, decided to exercise my brave heart muscles and this story poured out.
I am missing my dear sisters this year at Refine Retreat but have this sweet memory to keep me.