Warm impermanence

As I watched

Not too long ago I was whining about the cold weather. And then the switch was thrown and now we can’t keep up with lawn.

I told myself to watch for it this year: the transition from winter to spring to summer. And I paid attention, darn it, I did, and yet the change still happened without my noticing.

Somehow, without the interference of time, the goldfinches changed out of their chalky pale green overcoats into bright yellow blazers. The cherry tree was suddenly weighed down by a garland of pink blossoms. The morning light slid into the bedroom windows before the alarm clock sang.

When H was a baby, we stared at her softly fuzzed head for hours, swearing to each other and ourselves that we’d miss as little as possible of her growing up. So how come I didn’t notice the moment when I could no longer pick her up? When was the exact minute when she became taller than I am?

Everything feels full of change right now.

I know. I know. The only constant is change, or some such rubbish. But you know how sometimes things just chug along quietly and in a known way for months or even years on end? Those are not these months. Not these years.

A boy we’ve known from infancy is suddenly tall, confident and in control of his long limbs, heading off to college in the fall.

The girl we call our own is taking center stage in her school musical and somehow knows how to do the final bows like a pro.

The dog is seven years old today and still looks like a puppy, except for the new frizzle of grey fur under his chin.

One member of my reading group is moving far away. Another is selling her beautiful house. Another is in Armenia. Another spends half the year in Arizona. When is a group no longer a group?

The rose-breasted grosbeak appeared at the feeder on Monday—after a winter away—wondering why we hadn’t filled the feeder lately (he hadn’t heard about the bear, apparently). When did the winter birds go and the summer birds arrive?

The orchids on the windowsill by my desk keep budding, against my expectations. I see the buds. Every day I see the buds get larger. Every day I think, If I just sit still long enough and pay attention, I’ll see this bud open. And I never do.

It’s as if I can’t look hard enough, or I that my eyes register only the most blatant changes. That there’s magic happening behind every rock, inside every tree, beneath my feet and when I look away, however briefly, I miss the trick. The hand is too fast, the nickel is hidden behind the ear, the card up the sleeve.

The only thing I’ve ever been able to watch and see the progress in front of my eyes is the rising or setting sun.

The sun. The one thing I’m not supposed to look directly at.

Well. Things will change whether or not I see them. Even while I’ve tapped away on this keyboard, the light has changed and afternoon is turning into evening. I can’t pin anything down. Every moment is rippling away. And you and I, right now, are still here, listening to an old tune and thinking what to make for dinner.


  1. Kayte says:

    I know…the changes happen right under our noses and we don’t even notice half the time. Especially with the kiddos…I’m still in serious denial that mine are this old, well if 22 can be considered old, I guess…lol! Depends how you look at it. Fun post. Love those little goldfinches when they change colors, too. It’s the Iowa State Bird so always have enjoyed them.

  2. alittletea3 says:

    Beautiful as always, Rebecca.~D

  3. teaandscones says:

    **SIGH** it all goes by so quickly. Missed it!! Fighting back the tears because of all I know I somehow missed and can never get back….

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