Elm flowers

The tiny, shriveled blooms collecting in my swimming pool tell me change is on the way.

Although the sun still sends a trickle of sweat down my cheek, twilight approaches sooner every day. I still wear shorts. The air conditioner still rumbles. But there is a promise of cooler days to come.

If I were back in the state I was born, leaves would turn yellow, red, and brown before swirling to the ground. The wind would have a cool bite. But here in California, the elms in the front yard shed their leaves, but the citrus trees hold theirs green. Nights will be slighter cooler, though not enough to get a jacket out of the closet.  

But no one can escape change, not even Californians.  

Hope and dread war in my heart. How reassuring would it be if everything stayed the same. As I look around, change never stops. Majestic mountains are brought down, rock by rock. Rivers carry garbage to the ocean. Forests are devastated by raging fires, and farmlands drown in floods. Natural wonders are shadows of their original untouched beauty.

As the years pass, I also cannot escape the ticking clock of time. New wrinkles, grey hair, dental work, aching joints. They remind me that my body has an expiration date. And I can’t renew my extended warranty.

But as the Californian rock band, Switchfoot, wrote, “this skin and bones is a rental.” When my travels on Earth are over, I will move to a more beautiful place. A place not touched by viruses or pain. A place where beauty cannot be corrupted.

So I mourn not for what is lost. Instead, I smile to see piles of elm flowers crumbled in the street. They are my promise that change is coming, and someday I will be home.

The tiny, shriveled blooms collecting in my swimming pool tell me change is on the way.

Although the sun still sends a trickle of sweat down my cheek, twilight approaches sooner every day. I still wear shorts. The air conditioner still rumbles. But there is a promise of cooler days to come.

If I were back in the state I was born, leaves would turn yellow, red, and brown before swirling to the ground. The wind would have a cool bite. But here in California, the elms in the front yard shed their leaves, but the citrus trees hold theirs green. Nights will be slighter cooler, though not enough to get a jacket out of the closet.  

But no one can escape change, not even Californians.  

Hope and dread war in my heart. How reassuring would it be if everything stayed the same. As I look around, change never stops. Majestic mountains are brought down, rock by rock. Rivers carry garbage to the ocean. Forests are devastated by raging fires, and farmlands drown in floods. Natural wonders are shadows of their original untouched beauty.

As the years pass, I also cannot escape the ticking clock of time. New wrinkles, grey hair, dental work, aching joints. They remind me that my body has an expiration date. And I can’t renew my extended warranty.

But as the Californian rock band, Switchfoot, wrote, “this skin and bones is a rental.” When my travels on Earth are over, I will move to a more beautiful place. A place not touched by viruses or pain. A place where beauty cannot be corrupted.

So I mourn not for what is lost. Instead, I smile to see piles of elm flowers crumbled in the street. They are my promise that change is coming, and someday I will be home.

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