On Sunday it snowed in Boston and my heart broke a little bit.
Daylight’s savings has passed, the sun has set after 6pm, and in the cemetery where I work flowers have been sprouting up in irregular patches, surprising me with glimpses of white and purple on my lunchtime walks. I spent an afternoon on the Boston Common in a dress and no tights, and came home with a light sunburn, marking the shape of my sunglasses on my face.
And despite all that, on Sunday it had the audacity to snow in Boston.
When I woke up on Monday morning to the sight of 4 inches of snow carpeting the ground, I immediately thought of the snowdrops and purple crocuses that had been so eagerly growing as the temperatures had begun to rise. “Goodbye little friends,” I thought. “Maybe you’ll come back again in a few weeks.”
And yet today as I walked from my car to the office I saw something remarkable.
My little flower friends had survived! And even more impressive: there were more of them! Not even a mid-March snow storm could keep them down.
The resiliency of flowers in springtime astounds me every year. Emerging from the long, dark season of winter, where staying in bed feels like a better option than everything else, where we put on layers and don’t let skin touch open air, hearing more dark weather is coming is pretty soul crushing.
Similarly, being a queer femme committed to social justice and liberation, waking up to hear the North Carolina passed a bill that would allow discrimination against LGBT people, or that Kourtney Yochum has become the 7th transgender person to be killed this year, after a winter of hearing vitriolic racism and sexism coming from presidential candidates and watching 1/4 of the queer women characters on TV die, it can feel a little hard to not break down and cry for the state of the world. It can feel like the injustices are piled so high, that there is no way to break through. Like maybe we will never see the sun again.
But the flowers do it. They survive the thing that should kill them over and over again, and they come back, as beautiful and necessary as ever. They rebuild a world that seems to have died and announce that spring is here at last.
So much of my femme identity has been inspired by flowers. They are fragile but resilient. They are vibrant and beautiful, but also necessary to our ecosystem. Flowers have seasons where it’s their time to grow and when it’s their time to go back to the earth, and protect themselves. Also they grow in groups, which is never a bad idea for femmes.
It takes a lot of strength to be able to be vulnerable with others in a way that allows you to take in the sun, but might also allow you to get hurt. It can be challenging to take up space with vibrancy and color in a world that wants you to look or be a certain way. It is hard work to put beauty and love into the world when you know someone will call it frivolous and there is a chance that it might put you in danger. It is scary to dream of a better world when you feel like you are surrounded by hate.
Luckily we have springtime to remind us of what it means to be resilient. To show us what a beautiful world is coming if we believe in it, and keep believing, no matter how long the winter.