The Beauty of Change

I was driving around my town. With a smile on my face, some words just spontaneously tumbled out of me. “I know you,” I said, and then I smiled some more.

I spoke this to Ann Arbor, the place I’ve called home for the last ten years. My car windows were down, and I took an enormous, intentional breath of air.  Then I put my arm out of the window to feel the breeze. I felt very alive.

The reality of spring called those words forth from me.
“I know you.”

I continued to enjoy the warm air, but the visual scene was most responsible for bringing those words into being. In Michigan, we have entered an aesthetically gorgeous time of year. The six month period from April to October brings continual changes in scenery.

Each week shifts as a variety of flowering trees and plants emerge, soon accompanied by the newborn leaves of trees which grow in gradual ways. After these leaves progressively paint our town bright green, they rustle in the wind for a few months and finally give us a swansong, bursting into a variety of colors as they shed their photosynthesis process and reveal the red, orange, and yellow colors hiding underneath it.

For this half of the year, every week is gorgeous, and every week is gorgeous differently.

I’ve experienced this many times in Ann Arbor, and I’ve lived here long enough to know the order of this unfolding process of change. That’s why the words tumbled out of my mouth that day in my car.

“I know you.”

I know how one set of flowers and blooming trees emerge and seem to reign for mini-era of time, only to be replaced by another set of flowers and blooming trees. It’s a beautiful procession.

I know that the daffodils,


soon give way to the bradford pears,


which soon give way to the tulips,


which soon give way to the tulip magnolias,


which soon give way to the day lilies.


This process continues to unfold.

In the midst of so much collective distress and disruption, I’m glad to observe this procession right now. It gave me an impromptu burst of joy when I spontaneously said, “I know you,” to Ann Arbor on that day.

Sometimes, we need to feel at home in the predictable changes, especially when so much is changing unpredictably.

Renee Roederer

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