What You See

We planted a spruce tree in the little garden behind our house. I looked out the window of our sun porch one day, seeing a rabbit scampering through the flowers, wondering just how many tiny floral buds it ate today. Sigh.

The end buds of the tree seemed unusually vibrant – light green, almost glowing.

“Had it always been like this in spring?” I thought.

I didn’t remember the spruce looking like this for the past two years. Could it have been the vast amount of much-needed rain we’d received in New England this spring?

Suddenly, it came to me. I hadn’t actually seen the tree since we planted it; not clearly at least.

We moved to this home at a time when I was recovering from a concussion, early in the pandemic. I thought my somewhat blurry vision was from that injury, but no. I discovered that the eye condition, the normal aging cataracts that one develops with living life, was not so normal. These were a type that was rapidly making me lose my vision.

In these modern times, we have the blessing of surgery that can remedy that; and it did. I truly hadn’t seen that tree or the beauty of the seasons for almost three years.

Gratitude. I was overwhelmed by this feeling of being blessed and thankful. As we all often do, I took for granted the perfect vision I had as a young woman.

How often do we all take for granted the blessings in our lives until they are no longer there? People, places, abilities. I’ve had friends longing for the day when their children were older, out of the house, when their children were still in elementary school. Procrastinating on their exercise programs, until the day came when they were barely able to walk anymore. Missing a lost loved one they hardly had time for when they were alive.

Gratitude. Cherish what you have. Celebrate your life. Come from the place of richness, rather than want.

I see the world again in ways I hadn’t for a few years, both externally and internally.

I think I’ll go and sit on my patio this afternoon and gaze at the vibrant blue-green of the tree, peering at the daisies just beginning to bud, and yes, even laugh a little at the bunny-eaten plants I can see in my garden.

susan schirl smith
Susan Schirl Smith is a writer, photographer and holistic nurse based in New Hampshire. Her essays have been published in Cognoscenti, Pangyrus, Silver Birch Press and The Journal of Holistic Nursing. Her photography has been featured in Barren Magazine and L’Ephemere Review. Smith’s current manuscript is Desperado, a memoir of her brother. You can follow Susan on her website or Facebook.

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