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Lynchburg, Virginia - My Love Affair With a City

Updated on June 20, 2016
Pink and White Dogwoods bloom
Pink and White Dogwoods bloom | Source

Seasonal Awareness

It sneaks up on me every time, this season we call Spring. I suppose it's just all too easy to get fixated on the challenges of Winter and forget that Spring inevitably follows on its heels. I know this and yet something about Winter robs me of the awareness that there is a day each Spring when I fall in love all over again with this place I call home.

I am never quite prepared for the sensory overload of Spring's arrival. It is euphoric, similar to hearing a lover say "I love you" for the first time. It leaves me giddy and even a bit careless as it calls me to explore the areas of this city where its magnificence invades even the poorest areas of the inner city. Common sense tells me not to travel alone but this cannot wait. Wind or rain will tear the fragile blooms from their perch high up in the trees. and I cannot risk missing this. So, off I go.

Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!" ~Robin Williams



With age, I have developed my own personal rituals for each season. They aren't really scripted but seem to just happen when the seasons change. They are as necessary to my mental attitude as water and air are to life. My rituals are not dictated by calendars or clocks. They just happen. And so it is that this hub is being written after enjoying my ritualistic journey through this city, which is the object of my love affair in Spring.

It took place a couple of days ago when I had to run an errand in the middle of the day. Lately, it seems, my days are filled with errands to run and schedules to keep. My life has been a bit hectic. If you've read any of my other works, you are probably aware that my family is dealing with the effects of Alzheimer's disease in my Dad. It is a new journey for us and we have not yet found our groove. Each day is a new day filled with new challenges and too little time to find comfort in what we know or answers to what we don't yet understand. All this chaos made it quite easy for me to ignore the signs that Spring had arrived. The daffodils bloomed without my usual exuberance this year and for a short bit of time, that made me a little sad. At some point, I did notice the forsythia had bloomed but I did not take time to revel in this early sign of Spring. This is not normal for me.

As I drove across town to conduct my business, the revelation hit me - my city is beautiful! Of course, I knew this but in my day-to-day madness, I had neglected to notice. But not this day. Suddenly, I felt my senses come alive. I could smell Spring and everywhere i looked I saw all the reasons why I love this place. There were my friends, the Dogwoods and the Cherry trees and yes, the Redbuds had bloomed too. My city was alive with color and the backdrop for it all was a fresh, deep green of grass that I had not seen for many months. For a moment, I was stunned by the beauty and then, by my own response to it all. I live midway up the East Coast in a city that is only 3 hours from the ocean and in a city surrounded by mountains. How on earth did Spring sneak up on me this way?

Redbuds in bloom
Redbuds in bloom | Source

The Lesson

No, this is not an article about trees or grass, or even about the seasons. It's not even really about my love affair with my city. It's really about life and how easy it is to let the challenges of life get in the way of living.

I can't explain why that little trip across town was the catalyst for my awakening but I can tell you that I am grateful. Had it not happened the way it did, I could easily have woken up in June to the higher temperatures of Summer and wondered - "what happened to Spring". I would have missed the opportunity that nature and this city I love provided. You see, I didn't just take care of my business during that moment of awareness that Spring had arrived. Instead of returning to my job immediately, I took advantage of the moment and toured my city, enjoying all of the places that have brought me joy during my time here. I knew where to find the streets lined with the flowering Cherry trees and I remembered where the city engineers had planted the brilliant colors of tulips. Driving at my leisure, I visited the old historic churches where lawns are groomed with precision and care and yes, even in the poorest areas of the inner city there are well planned landscapes because, my city doesn't discriminate against poverty. The poor deserve to enjoy the seasons like the affluent.

Come, take a look at Spring in Virginia

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Pink and White DogwoodsCherry TreeStar Magnolia
Pink and White Dogwoods
Pink and White Dogwoods | Source
Cherry Tree
Cherry Tree | Source
Star Magnolia
Star Magnolia | Source

I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become, I will always plant a large garden in the spring. Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy that one gets from participating in nature's rebirth? ~Edward Giobbi

The Reason For The Season

Spring is the season where life springs forth from the hard crust of winter, from the weathered bark of the trees and with it - comes hope. It rejuvenates and repairs. Whatever darkness we endured during the cold months of Winter becomes less daunting or threatening and. But, it cannot do it alone.

It is up to us to slow down; to seize that moment that allows our senses to awaken to the warmth of the sun, the fragrance of flowers, the vision of a living earth waking from its Winter nap. My journey through this city I love has reminded me that each challenge I face is as temporary, as the seasons. Armed with this knowledge, I can face it without fear or dread. With it, I am reminded that this love affair with my city isn't about history or horticulture. It is about me and about what really matters in life. My advice to you is this -

Slow down. Enjoy the season. Skip out on work or trade a trip to the grocery store for a ride in the country. Visit a favorite place. Let your mind get quiet Life is what we make it.

Tell me...

Do you take time to enjoy the seasons?

See results

© 2013 Linda Crist


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