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A story about blooming in the back-and-forth.
If there was a moment when spring sprang, I missed it. It must have happened while I was out of town last week for my grandfather’s funeral, mourning his death while the earth burst to life. Strange, to think that I was draped in black while the trees donned frilled pink tutus and petaled taffeta hats. Now, as I settle back into my typical routine, still processing a goodbye buried deep underground in silent stillness, the crocuses are sprouting from the same soil, glimmering with giddy newness. … I never think I’m especially fond of spring until every year, when it takes me by surprise. Suddenly, I find myself drunk on its symphony of technicolor smells. I ambled through the Union Square farmers market at the start of my lunch break on Wednesday, and I fell in love at least 53 times. I have the iPhone photos to prove it, though most are blurry: amber-toned tulips, perfect painted pansies, orchids craning towards the sky. I swooned and mooned and ooohed over so many different shades and shapes of bloom, reminded that science and magic can be the same thing. For $5, I bought two tiny daffodils and a hyacinth. I picked the ones that were still shut up inside themselves, their buds unbroken, preparing themselves for their slow and silent explosions. Afterwards, toting my new plants in a plastic bag, I walked over to Washington Square Park to eat the lunch I’d packed. I chose an unshaded bench. It was late — I’d worked a long morning that seeped into the first several hours of the afternoon, then lost more minutes than I’d intended in enraptured admiration of those rippled seas of billowed market blossoms — and I was hungry. As I pulled my food from my backpack, stomach growling, the class container fell to the ground and shattered, smattering broccoli across the sidewalk and into the dirt. For a moment, it occurred to me to be angry, or at least frustrated; to toss a few irked profanities into the air the way gravity had tossed my food from my hands. The f-word might have felt good, perhaps coupled with a stomp and a “damn it.” It was going to be an especially good lunch, and the glass container was a new gift from my mom, which I should have known better than to take out of my apartment. But…