By David DeWitt
Spring here this year has been outstanding. Even now the dogwoods and rhododendrons are holding on.
In contrast to last year when just after the buds began appearing, a cold snap killed off most of them, blunting the impact of that extra lift you normally get from the season.
This year everything is showing off. Some flowers seem to be blooming three times over.
Finn has been climbing trees more and more lately with his buddies. On a recent morning he was determined to conquer one tree in particular that was in full bloom.
He had his eye on a specific branch. Bracing and balancing precariously he finally reached it. Grabbing a blossom he pulled it to his face.
After examining it for a second, he buried his nose in the petals and took a long deep breath.
“Mmmm Daffodils,” he said.
He did enjoy the daffodils this year while they lasted. I guess any sweet smelling flower is now held to that standard.
From my perspective he could’ve more easily reached a number of blooms that were hanging closer to the ground without climbing. But what fun is that? He went for the challenge.
Maybe the blossoms that take some effort to reach smell a little sweeter.
It’s kind of human nature, isn’t it? To find more satisfaction in the things that present a degree of difficulty.
If it’s too easy, there must be something wrong.
But there’s a fine line between experiences that offer enough challenge to be fulfilling and those that just create endless challenge.
This week my Dad turned 90. During his lifetime he has experienced plenty of both. My Mom said his first words on the morning of his birthday were:
“I’m still here! I made it!”
More than once during our visit he reflected on some of the difficulties he’s endured throughout his life, while at the same time commenting on how beautiful his plants and flowers are this year.
His expression at times seemed as if he was looking at everything for the first time. He said he wasn’t sure he would make it to this day and now that he has, he’s not quite sure what to do next. By the end of the day he was talking about going for 100.
When I think of Finn getting older, my first impulse is to wish him a life free of difficulty. That he would just glide along experiencing joys and only know pain when it’s absolutely necessary.
Of course I know the inevitable. He won’t be carefree five forever. Adolescence will be careening towards us before we know it with all the anxieties that accompany it.
Try as I might to soften the onslaught of natural disappointments, I know full well that without challenge, he may never feel compelled to reach that branch that at first seems out of reach.
The one with blossoms that smell a little sweeter.