I almost missed them.

On Saturday, we walked up to the park to play for a bit, and on the way home, we passed a tree in the planting strip: there, against a gray branch under a gray sky, were three palest pink blossoms.

I was nearly past them before I saw them. I stopped walking. “Jack, Jane, look! Cherry blossoms!”

They looked. They couldn’t have cared less. It was much more fun to chase each other, screaming, down the sidewalk. So they resumed that delightful activity.

Doug smiled at me. “They’re pretty,” he said. And they were.

But it was more than that. It was that I had forgotten about cherry blossoms, forgotten how they start blooming in mid-January, forgotten that a month from now the trees will be covered in pink and white blossoms, forgotten the way their petals carpet the sidewalks, forgotten the way their beauty fills me year after year with such joy it almost hurts.

How could I forget that?

When I got home, I noticed our camellia tree was thick with buds. After the cherry blossoms will come camellias. And crocus. And daffodils and tulips and iris.

Winter will pass. Spring will come. Light will lengthen.

I knew that, cognitively. But in the darkness of these past months, I had forgotten.

How glad I am that I didn’t miss those blossoms, that they caught at the corner of my vision, that I turned my head and saw.

“They’re pretty,” Doug said. But they were more than pretty. They were the color of hope.