Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March in Kentucky

Daffodils and 5inches of snow
I woke up at 1 am Monday morning. A soft light was coming into the bedroom and I went to investigate. Light was reflecting off the snow that had blanketed everything in the backyard. Big wads of snow were floating down through the illuminated cone of the  security light in the yard behind us. It was so beautiful, I had to just sit there and watch. These scenes don't last forever. At a more appropriate time for rising, I got up and simply reveled in the gorgeousness. When Carly and I set out for a walk, in one direction the sky was brightening and the blue was rich and fresh. Then, heading on down the street and looking the other way, the sky was a deep steel gray, like a winter storm coming upon us. The tops of the snow coated trees were brilliantly white in comparison. I was so delighted with this visual feast, and I felt terribly guilty about it.

      Just a couple of days earlier, powerful winds blew through our area and many people lost their lives. Swaths of forest were chewed up and spit out along with any houses that were in the way. After the snow fell, reporters were constantly saying that insult was added to injury, as people sifted through the destruction in the cold and wet. It was March in Kentucky.

      Nineteen years ago in March, we had a huge snow fall of almost two feet. My kids were little, six and almost four. The crocuses were out and the snow quickly swallowed them up. The snow was already pretty high when my father came by before heading home to his farm in Jessamine County. He was in town to see some patients.

      The next morning was a beautiful sunny, Sunday. I imagine my father being pretty happy that morning. He fed the birds and then took his tractor out to pick up the paper on the main road and plowed the snow off the lane as he went (two feet deep!) He was on his return trip when he must have misjudged where the road was, because the tractor went off the road and down the steep slope. My father was pinned under the tractor wheel and died. It was such a shock to lose him so suddenly. We were still reeling as the warm spring winds came and quickly melted the snow. A few days later my siblings and I were visiting with our cousins, telling stories in our shirtsleeves. But our father/uncle was gone forever.

      Perhaps it is strange, but I have beautiful memories of this March nineteen years ago.  The house filled with flowers and the smell made me hunger for loveliness. At the visitation, I heard story after story about my father from his patients. A major theme was the newly installed 15-minute hour glass.  Apparently my father's willingness to listen to patients was greatly appreciated, but the delay getting into the room to be listened to was not! As an endocrinologist, he took special care with the feet, a concern for diabetics. Perhaps I would never have known this about my father if he had grown old and retired.

     My father was fond of pointing out that life is unfair, then he went on to prove it. Certainly it was not fair that people lost their life as the storms roared through Kentucky last Friday. There is no rhyme or reason to who was taken and who was spared. All I can think is that it is beautiful that we have lives on this earth. We can not control the length of our lives, but we can appreciate that our life matters.

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