I rise before dawn and drive south. The spring sunrise glows upon daffodils and forsythia along Rochester Road. I recall this golden hope in a season of grief while en route to my eight o’clock class at Oakland University.

Twenty-six years later, forsythia blooms in wild, arching boughs in a fen. A decade ago, the previous owner of the homestead kept the branches pruned and the landscape groomed around his columned farmhouse. The white paint now peels from the wood facade.

Whenever I pass this estate, it pains my heart to see it fall into decrepitude. In travels throughout the north and south in April, one often finds forsythia nearby the collapsing front porch of an old home place.

Yellow never fades from garden fashion.

I turn west onto Tienken Road and pass two of my favorite farmhouses bordered by blooming forsythia hedges. Surrounding subdivisions also grow this shrub from the olive family Oleaceae. Some hedgerows stand straight and square as living walls. Others splay their flowers without restraint.

Everywhere, sun shines upon lemony shrubbery along Square Lake and Middlebelt Roads!

Have confinement and the ubiquitous threat of death opened my eyes to this beauty more fully? Or has this golden hope returned to encourage my youngest child and me?

At 7:20 a.m., I park in her driveway and knock on her door where she lives alone. This worries me. That she may be admitted to the hospital for surgery this morning worries me. Will the authorities permit me to sit by her bedside?

I spy forsythia blooming in her backyard as she opens the door.

“Hi Mom! Thanks for driving me.”

“My pleasure.”

Little Miss Independent smiles.

I step up into the hall where she displays a large vase of leggy forsythia branches.

She repeats the doctor’s report as I drive to the hospital. She points where to park.
“Shoot, I forgot my mask,” she says.

I dig into my purse and hand her a clean hanky.

“Where’s your mask?”

“You’re holding it.”

A security guard approaches. “Do you have an appointment?”

“I do,” my daughter says.

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” he says to me. “You can’t go in.”

I amuse myself for the hour with CDs, WRCJ, and scribbling notes until my daughter returns.

“No surgery today, Mom. The doctor said the meds should hold me over until she’s permitted to do surgeries again.”

I deliver my daughter to her door and hug her good-bye to meander home, nod to every forsythia and daffodil within sight. For I know the natural world and human condition enough to understand such a splendid excursion may never avail itself again.

I turn onto our gravel drive and realize I’ve marked our homestead with only one forsythia, a finicky variety at that.

Dear Reader, it seems there’s an intuitive yearning for the flowering plant named after the Scottish botanist William Forsyth.

Perhaps to ease his grief, he craved to gaze upon yellow some sunny April morning.

Contact Iris at irisleeu@sbcglobal.net.