The weather here on the Front Range has been mild and unseasonably warm of late.  Growing up in New England, I learned to be a “bud watcher” as a way of getting through interminable winters.  There are signs of spring everywhere, if you know where to look.

Here in Colorado, it is very easy to witness these signs.  Many buds have split and pushed forth those little fuzzy buds that remind me of pussy willows.  There are green shoots in the garden, as well.  I have stopped fearing that they would never survive, because they always do.

I am particularly excited about springtime this year.  We planted a “forest pansy” right outside the living room window, last fall.  I have long admired these delicate trees, with slender branches and tiny pink blossoms, reminding me of Japanese art.  It stands up straight and proud, while being fragile all at the same time.  I look forward to seeing it blossom for me.

Spring in Colorado is glorious.  The birds return quickly, the robins never leave.  The flowers sprout prolifically, and for a couple of months, it is exquisite.  I have discovered that if I am focused on appreciating the present, fully, I am aware that this may be the last spring I have to enjoy.

It will be different this year.  I will not be planting or toiling in the garden.  But I will sit out there in the sunshine, breathe in the scents, listen to the birds, watch the squirrels darting here and there, and I shall be in bliss, feeling the warm sun on my face.

My handicapped tags arrived for our vehicles yesterday.  They sit on the kitchen counter, like tourists in a foreign land.  I pass by them several times as I go about my business, and glance at them as if to reinforce the depth and breadth of what they represent for me.  Denial is fading, as my illness grows.  And, it is hard.

No cross country skiing or snow shoeing this winter, and no hikes or bike rides this spring.  So I focus on how I can get to the woods and just stroll and sit by a stream in the sunlight.  I will be able to do that, I’m certain.

While thoughts of death fill my mind all too often these days, I don’t know how to stop. I wish I could say something different, but it is true.  I think about all my beloveds and how I may communicate with each of them in a special way.  I feel a sense of peace.  I am now free of many irritations that invaded my mind and caused me stress.

And so, I will drive my car as long as I am able.  I will roll all the windows down and drive down the highway with the wind blowing through my hair, country music blaring from the radio.  I will breathe in the stunning scenery and fragrant air and give thanks.

I will hope to be remembered as a woman of strength and wisdom, with a great capacity for love.  And, in the meantime, I look forward to watching my forest pansy bloom outside my living room window for the first time.