|Photo by me of the sprig in question|
When Antoinette and I hiked at Ringwood and Skylands Manor, we selected our favorite wildflowers. Of course I picked one sky blue: chicory. She picked buttercups.
She hated forsythia.
"It's the same color as buttercups, and a similar shape," I protested.
"It looks weedy and untamed," she said. "Buttercups are subtle and delicate."
I sent her emails with photographs of burgeoning forsythia.
"You're torturing me!"
Today, Monday, April 13, was my first day back to teaching after my sister Antoinette died on Friday, April 10.
As I walked to work along my usual route, a forsythia, hanging over my head from a terraced front yard on West Broadway, brushed my face. After a long winter, the forsythia was finally coming into blossom. "Well played, Antoinette, well played," I said. "You got out of Dodge before the forsythia began to blossom."
I walked on.
As I passed through the parking lot of the DeLuccia-Lozito Funeral Home, as I do most mornings, my foot almost stepped on a – branch? I bent down and picked it up. There in the empty funeral parlor parking lot was a perfect, clean, artificial sprig of forsythia.
I shoved it into my backpack and carried it to school.
A sign, or a mere coincidence? I don't know. Saturday's bear was utterly beyond chance, and I am as sure as I am of anything that it was a sign. This? Coincidence, sign, not sure. Just saying.