They are coming…I know they are. Those awful flies. Soon, the air will be filled them. They will make their way in the back door of the house and through the entrance to my music store, only to spend their time buzzing around and alighting on people and anything else that is attractive to them. And, I have only myself to blame. You may think I’m exaggerating, but give me a minute to get my bearings (just the thought of those flies disorients me so…) and I’ll explain.
Springtime is teasing, as she often does. For a few days last week, I was fooled into believing her promise of warmer temperatures and sunny skies. Today, she has gone back on those promises and disappeared from sight. And, I find myself disappointed and disillusioned once more. But, for just a few hours, I nearly held the joy that is the end of winter in my hands and I am confident that the promise will yet be fulfilled, albeit delayed a day or two.
Lest you believe that I wear rose-colored glasses where this alluring lady we call spring is concerned, let’s go back to those flies and talk for just a moment or two regarding one of my worst misgivings about the approach of this most blessed of seasons. You see, just over eleven years ago, with the help of my daughter’s fiancee, I invited the flies to visit en masse every spring. They have accepted the invitation every single year. That fateful year, we planted The Hedge. I don’t remember what kind of plant it is. I only know that the nursery told us that the plants would grow quickly into large bushes which, when set in close proximity to each other, would provide a wonderfully dense hedge. They were right about the bushes. I wonder if I am not the one who is actually dense.
Every spring, the hedge produces an amazing crop of blossoms that attracts a fair number of bees, come to steal away the nectar, in exchange for which they offer delicious honey. It is only a fair number of bees that come though. The profusion of flies which swarms the aromatic blossoms, on the other hand, is immense. When one walks beside the hedge and brushes a hand over the tips of the leaves, the flies arise in clouds, the buzzing almost deafening. I do exaggerate a bit, but only a bit. I wonder if I could sue the nursery for non-disclosure of facts pertinent to my decision-making process? When I was contemplating which variety of bush would be planted at the dividing line between my house and my business, not a word was said regarding the quantity of flies which would be attracted to the beautiful hedge. You understand that no lies were told, but then, who would think to even ask about such things?
I’m still trying to decide if I should uproot this natural fence line to rid our lives of these horrendous pests. Oh sure, it’s only for a month out of every year, but the annoyance is enough to drive me to distraction for that month. And, I know that time of distraction is approaching very soon. Perhaps, we should even cancel spring and just keep it the way Narnia was during the reign of the White Witch; always winter and never Christmas (or spring).
You realize, of course, that the suggestion is foolishness. The hedge does exactly what it was intended to do. It is a beautiful part of the landscape now and I would greatly regret removing it. And, how could we live without springtime? I make the ridiculous suggestions only to prove a point. If only I could remember what that was, I would feel better. But then…you’ve already seen the point, haven’t you?
Of course! The point is that we take the bad with the good. It is true in all of life. Watermelons, which are delicious, have seeds, which are annoying and messy. Cars, which are amazingly convenient modes of transport, use gasoline, which is expensive and produces pollution. Dogs and cats, which are loving and entertaining, have to be cleaned up after and eat us out of house and home. You see the parallels, do you not? Most things in life come with a downside. We learn to live with it; we learn to cope. We don’t, as you have no doubt heard it said, throw the baby out with the bath water.
I wish that all of life was easy. I would love to have the option of, as one of my former pastors was fond of saying, “going through on roller skates”. It doesn’t work that way. I hope I haven’t spoiled it for anyone out there who was still under the impression that life was actually a bowl of cherries. Those have pits too, you know.
I will revel in spring! I will take pride in the beautiful hedge which grows on the edge of my lawn (as soon as I have trimmed it)! The minor set-backs that come will be taken in stride and the astounding beauty will remain on display. When we focus on the negative, we lose sight of the great good which is ours. Mr. Longfellow understood this when he reminded us that “into each life, some rain must fall”. I have heard this life called a “vale of tears” more times than I care to remember, but I maintain that there is much more reason for dancing than for tears. You may be in a time which requires tears right now, but there is still dancing to come. Don’t lose hope.
The ugly flies will come, drawn by the sweet aroma of beauty. We will swat them or they will die on their own, but I have confidence that eventually, they will quit coming in droves. The beauty of the hedge will stay all year. What a wonderful picture of life! Mourning into dancing…sorrow into joy!
Now, if we could just convince spring to do her part…
“…a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance;”
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
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© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2013. All Rights Reserved.