I posted this last year after Mom’s diagnosis, before our annus horribilis, telling myself that it would all be OK, the trees get their leaves again, we will get through this.

We did get through it but not all of us; this year it seems even more appropriate, as the rest of us figure out “a return/to the strange idea of continuous living despite/ the mess of us, the hurt, the empty.”


Instructions on Not Giving Up
by Ada Limón

More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.