But there’s another Nurse Florence I want to share with you today. She also served in the military – World War II – and retired from Skagit Valley Hospital in 1981, the year I was born. A beautiful Japanese Maple was given to her as a retirement gift. Thirty-eight years later, this tree flourishes in my front yard.
While she may not boast the same accolades as the esteemed “Lady With the Lamp,” in my view, she deserves recognition this National Nurse’s Week, amidst the global celebration for Year of the Nurse.
As I’m writing, the world outside is turning a soft winter white. The ground underneath it, mostly a dirty brown state of decay or Washington state moss (mold) green, is being transformed by a fresh coat of snowy paint.
Snow makes everything beautiful. It creates a world that appears clean, peaceful, poignant, and full of possibility. A foot or two of snow on the ground can turn any landscape into a Thomas Kinkade painting.
The thing about snow is it’s temporary. It’s going to melt. (Unless you live on one of the poles in which case your snow-covered world looks less ‘awe-inspiring Kinkade’ and more ‘stark Nat Geo magazine spread’) As it melts, the dirt below remains. The only difference is it will be wetter, colder and so dense you’ll need a supersized industrial-strength shovel to get it out of the way. (There’s nothing grosser than the gray-brown slush that builds up along the sidewalks after a snowfall.)
But right now, the snowflakes are like falling crystal, and it’s the essential backdrop for a New Year’s reflection and perfect analogy for a blog post. The snow may conceal the ugliness of the past, but it won’t eliminate the mess for good.
That part’s up to me. I have to clean up my own messes.