It’s spring in NY. Days are now bathed in color, washing over me with great intensity, evolving with life and breath. The sickly branches are bursting. In the winter I rely on people for color. Eyes mostly. Brown spun like caramel, twisting shades in a spectrum sometimes better than spring because they are buried in layers of stories. Some stay with me for years, collected like stones or shells, rattling around in my pockets. I’m terrible with names, but I can recall someone’s eyes after a first meet. Sometimes they are not beautiful, but haunting. Unreadable and dark. Gray and clouded with age. The filmy layers of time. These are the most troubling. The ones losing color. Readying for death. Winter eyes. Spilling like drops of hot tea. You want to right the saucer, steady the trembling hand and pick up the trail of fallen petals, cobbling together the lost flecks of willow green and iris blue. I cannot help but wonder what beauty and strangeness they have witnessed and will leave behind for another spring, seen in the open blooms of the magnolia and dogwood trees. They are the first eyes of the season, these buds, unraveling a colorless cocoon to reveal the lost blush of a life.
I see my father’s hazel eyes in the bark of the palo verde trees, the golden sweep of my grandmother’s hair in the forsythias. Her cheeks in the coral sunsets. But on this spring day, the weeping cherries are the color of my children’s swollen lips, rested with sleep just before they wake. And they are glorious.