One spring morning, about a year and a half after we moved into our house, I went outside to see our across-the-street neighbour standing at the end of her driveway, staring into our yard. She was a sweet lady who always said hello and would sometimes stroll across the street to chat. She lived alone and I always thought she enjoyed the few minutes of conversation we shared. And she was always very complimentary of my boys, so I loved chatting with her.
“I’m just admiring your tree,” she said as she smiled.
I turned and followed her gaze until I saw a large tree at the back of our yard. It’s branches were adorned with vivid pink blooms that stood out among the greenery.
“I’ve always loved it,” she went on.
“It is pretty, isn’t it?” I said, and couldn’t keep the surprise out of my voice. It was as if I was seeing it for the first time.
In truth, it was the first time I had truly remarked this tree.
It had bloomed before my eyes the year before and I had somehow missed it. I would have had a clear view of it from the kitchen window as I stood at the kitchen sink washing dishes. I would have faced it as I drove into the driveway. We had played in the backyard, moved the lawn, and passed it to go to and from the shed.
And yet I never noticed. I was too busy with the day to day: Point A to Point B, car to house, house to yard, yard to shed. Dishes. Storytime. Bedtime.
Of course I must have seen it. But I had never stopped and looked and appreciated it, or gasped at the beauty right in front of me.
It makes me wonder what else I don’t see.
At our house, I am the finder of lost things. I know where David’s keys and wallet are. I know what the basket the balls are in and what shelf the ketchup is on. I am always getting after the boys for not being about to find things.
“I can’t find it!” they’ll call from their rooms or while standing in front of the open fridge.
I usually call out some instruction including a vague direction or a nearby object. When that doesn’t work, I inevitably come to their rescue and make a dramatic point by producing the lost article with a flourish.
“Oh.” they’ll say, when faced with evidence that it is right where I told them it would be. “I didn’t see it.”
That is what my neighbour did for me that day. Beauty was waving at me and I couldn’t see it.
But unlike the wallet, keys, or the ketchup, it will not be hiding again tomorrow.
I see it now. I look for it. I wait for it.
It is like a corsage, pinned on our yard, welcoming the warm days and sunshine. It catches our eye and dances in the breeze. Too soon, the rain will come, and the delicate blossoms will fall. The only consolation is that summer’s warmth and lazy days are just around the corner. It heralds the coming season with all the fanfare summer deserves.
I still don’t know what kind of tree it is. (Ms. Brown Thumb, at your service.) Google tells me its blossoms are close to a crab apple – it has little red berries on it in the fall. I should have asked my neighbour.
I’ll always remember how someone showed me, with such a flourish, something had been hiding in plain sight.
Do you ever miss things that are right in front of you? Are you the finder of lost things at your house?