On the brink of new beginnings
Chocolates and roses! That’s what the month used to mean. For a while, she had treasured the familiarity of opening the velvet, heart shaped box. She had reenacted the comfort of placing each lush, red rose in the cool crystal vase. She had committed to memory the last poem he had written to her in the last card. All that − until his heart stopped and he was gone. All that − a lifetime ago. The month had come to mean other things for Gaby.
February now represented the brink of new beginnings. Most people designated New Year’s Day for making resolutions in one’s life. Experience had taught Gaby otherwise. January had always been a down month. She found it to be a time to get over the rush of December holidays filled with expectations and commitments.
Then Ground Hog’s Day would arrive. Wiarton Willie’s prediction on February 2nd of an early spring was welcome news indeed. Years before, she might have judged the day as a silly bit of folklore more appropriate to pagan ways. Now, it finally made sense to her. Marking the day represented hope. It was a date that reached back through history to other folk who had struggled with the hardship of winter weather. Had it not been “the winter of our discontent” this season?
Oh, there were those hardy souls who unabashedly challenged that this was Canada − that snow was something to anticipate, to enjoy and even to respect. She knew she could find statistics to substantiate how different this winter had been compared to those of more recent years. She could probably identify others who considered this winter to be intolerable, for other reasons. No matter. Spring was somewhere out there in another six weeks. She longed for spring and all that it symbolized: rebirth and renewal.
At long last, she would pay attention to the rhythm of her own being. Yes, she was known to take on too much. It was time to scale back. It was time to evaluate what would again bring satisfaction, fulfillment and purpose. There were causes, of course, that she could help promote. This month alone awareness was being raised about blindness, about cancer, about eating disorders and about heart and stroke. Kind volunteers were always needed for all community support organizations. There were also personal health issues Gaby needed to ponder. Perhaps shoveling snow had been an indirect motivator to assess her physical endurance. What about her mind? She recalled those early years of learning, when she had seized new information like a sponge. To seek knowledge for its own sake was an exhilarating prospect. And what about the pursuit of personal creativity? Could she finally open the door to her own innermost longing?
Gaby had painted-over the stenciled red hearts in her Victorian bathroom. They were purple now, a colour more suited to her disposition. She had worn the symbol of those purple hearts under her secret cloak. It was time to cast it off. Green grass would replace fields of white snow. Grey, bare branches would sprout buds that would burst into verdant leaves. Red roses would bloom once more in his secret garden − and in her heart.
From: “Echoes of Footsteps”