Poppies and Violet

The trees lining the main roads into my pueblo explode into violet this time of year. Every year, I notice, and comment, and forget it until the following year. As I do with the orange poppies in spring, or the sunflowers in the summer. Nature gives me color, small gifts of life, and I’m momentarily, temporarily grateful.

How do I forget so much? Facebook’s “On this Day” feature pops up, reminding me that I once hiked in Switzerland, or that my youngest replaced the words “Bombs” with “Moms” when he sang Decemberists songs from the backseat. I see these images, and I smile, or gasp, and then it gets swept away again in between unloading the dishwasher and hanging the clothes up on the line.

Homework, dinner prep, endless scrolling of my mobile phone. I’m so busy doing nothing, and I know all these nothings do in fact make something.

But what if, someday, as I’m living in America somewhere, I forget that the orange blossoms bloomed in that one plaza, and everything smelled like a promise? Or that my dog used to walk from one sun patch to another, easing against the wall with a contented grunt?

What if I forget the name of the gate guard at the boys’ school, or the waiter who gives extra picos to my son before we ask? Will I remember the location of the mosaics in town? Or the sound of the church bells on a Sunday morning?

I will of course remember the big trips, the Eiffel Tower and Sistine Chapel. But I pray that I also remember how my landlord measured my sons’ height, carefully marking the meters and centimeters on his office wall.

I hope to someday see a perfect orange poppy, or a specific color of violet. And I hope that when I do, I swallow a little harder, close my eyes for a moment, and return to this place.

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