Spring locks her jaws into the hard earth,
a pitter patter of rain seeking refuge inside.
The windows shut, now open,
the moon peers through rows of empty branches,
Seeing something I don’t—
tulips growing light green stems below the soil,
pink horizons yet to appear over cool blue oceans
transformed by summer lights.
The wolf is a shadow that lingers three steps behind.
I turn to witness that all along I’ve not been alone.
I turn inward, see myself in her shadow.
Sleep in the shadow, rise in the light.
I have seen your love somewhere in this winter night.
Rise with the daffodil, yellow mind,
Springing days of sweet herein,
I see her—that is, springtime—coming.
In about a week, I return to Buenos Aires, to be in my father’s apartment, to let the memories of our times together seep through the walls, and along the streets of this port city. It’s springtime here again—that time of the year I used to spend with my father in Argentina, his childhood home. It was two springtime’s ago I was there, and, I think, two years before that—as the days lengthened here in the north, but inside the shadow of spring, prepared for winter in the southern hemisphere.
I still remember the first time I spent with my father, just he and I, in his beloved Buenos Aires. He had never visited the port city in May, because he would normally be with his Portuguese friends playing golf then. He had only come to Argentina because I had requested we share time together in his favorite city.
I still remember now, how, as we traipsed around Buenos Aires, he’d often tell me that they missed him there in Portugal, and that one friend had said—and I paraphrase—“The spring flowers don’t bloom the same without you here.”
He repeated those same words back to me, after I had returned to the U.S.. I was driving through the big open lands here in the desert, on my way to a Lakota Sundance, when he called and said, “The spring flowers don’t bloom the same without you here.”
This morning, as I sat still with the reality that I will soon be in Argentina again, in my father’s apartment, but without him, I began to cry. He left us several months back, but it hadn’t really hit me fully until now. I had been with him for many weeks, until the end, in my parent’s home in New Jersey, but I hadn’t slowed down enough to let the grief catch up with me. Maybe I’ve been holding the grief in my lungs, which have been congested for weeks now, and am finally feeling the reality of my father’s loss.
As I reflect on the fact that I’ll be back in Argentina soon, but without my father there, I feel his words echo in my mind. “The spring flowers don’t bloom the same without you here.” But this time, it’s me saying these words to him, as I feel the love that he shared with me and so many others close to him in Buenos Aires.
“Spring time won’t be the same without you there, papá, but I’ll feel your love wherever I go.”
Michelle Adam is an experienced writer, teacher, and healer. She recently published her novel, Child of Duende, after twenty-plus years as a magazine and newspaper writer. Her articles have appeared in The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine; Hibernia Magazine, an Irish magazine; Vista Magazine, a Hispanic insert of major national newspapers; and multiple other publications.
Michelle has also been a photographer and artist; has taught middle school students Spanish for the past dozen years; and has worked as a healer and shaman. Michelle has created healing and teaching circles of song and sound, assisting others in awakening the spirit of the earth, “duende,” within them, and creating a space for the celebration of life.