I have many lovely photos of my flowering amaryllis and tulips, blooming on the windowsill in this unaccountably mild early March. I planned to write about them, their colors, how the pink of one brings out the coral tones of another, but I’m having trouble concentrating on their peace and beauty while the news of war, burning through the snow in Ukraine, simmers underneath the Word window on my laptop.
There was a picture in the news this morning of the entrance to a Ukrainian embassy, piled high with flowers, the universal offer of comfort and condolence. These were mostly blue and yellow, the colors of Ukraine’s flag. I have many yellow daffodils and blue forget-me-nots still deep in their winter sleep in my front yard. They’re hardy, and will rise and bloom no matter what is thrown at them. Snow. Sleet. Freeze-thaw-freeze. No matter what, they work their way toward the surface and bump the leafmold out of the way.
Today in Ann Arbor the snow is in full retreat under a sunny sky and 48 degrees. This is a temperature that would feel cold to me if it rolled through in July, but today I walked outside in my flannel shirt, no jacket. Cold measured by a thermometer is absolute, but cold against the skin exists in relation to other things. We live in a layered world, where beautiful things and terrible things bump up against each other. Sometimes the best you can do against the terrible ones is to try to keep the beautiful ones on top.