Monday, March 7, 2011


I was on an errand this morning when I found myself mesmerized by the sudden new growth on the giant willow tree just half a block up the street from us. Although daffodils and crocuses and new grass are starting to come up, most of the trees in the neighborhood are still bare. Some of them haven’t even lost all of their dead leaves yet. And it seems like these green willow buds just popped out overnight.

I couldn’t help but think about spring, about its offering of renewal and new life. It has been a long winter for us, literally and figuratively. Never have I looked forward to spring so much as I have this year. I want the dark, dreary, cold days of this winter to be over. I want the days to be longer, the air warmer, the sky bluer. I want the life growing inside me to join us on the outside.

And yet, of course, the turning of spring is also the turning of yet another season without our girl. It is the season in which we lost her, and yet also the season in which our fondest and most vibrant memories with her were made. Soon we will begin the lifelong ritual of remembering the anniversary of her death within days of celebrating the anniversary of her brother’s birth. Never more has the immensity and complete inexplicability of life’s giant circle been more on display. Never again will we welcome spring without wistfulness. It will forevermore be a season of dichotomy.

Inspired by the willow tree, today I started working on trying to figure out how to use our camera—we bought an incredible digital SLR about 6 months before Hudson died. Ed takes beautiful pictures with it. I still set it on auto and then just point and shoot. But I’m trying to change that, especially before Jackson arrives.

I went out today to clumsily experiment with exposure and aperture, to try and catch the willow tree in this fleeting stage between winter’s barrenness and spring’s flourish.

Much like that in-between world that I will inhabit forever.


  1. Beautiful, Mandy. Both words and photos.

  2. The Willow Tree is my favorite. I have always been drawn to them. Gorgeous pictures Sis...Renee P.

  3. beautiful post...this year we are celebrating Allyson's 7th birthday on the 5th anniversary of her dad's death. My daughter-in-law said it well, "what better way to celebrate his life than by celebrating hers". Hudson will always be part of the beauty of your life. I love you.

  4. And life goes on, full of endings and too, spring is so welcome. We had a willow tree like that, and lost it years ago---I never thought much about it, until Lauren told me that she wished it was still here, that she and Matt had loved playing and hiding under it's long,drooping branches. Who knew? Who knew that particular memory was important to her? For me, that's one of the hardest things...seeing her with no one who shares those memories.

    Beautiful pictures, Mandy...beautiful thoughts...beautifully put. Thank you~


  5. I don't think it's coincidence that this beautiful weeping willow presented itself to you so soon after your experience with the woman in the yarn store. The freshness, the beauty of it is so very reassuring.

  6. There is something so perfect about a weeping willow - the way it reflects beauty and sadness all at once. Your pictures are beautiful, Mandy, and the beauty of Hudson's life and the deep, profound sadness of her loss are in each of these pictures, just as they are in you. Absolutely perfect. Sending you much love.