Delicate things can be so very tough.
The intricate hand-knotted lace of a Victorian dress has withstood well more than a century’s less-than-careful handling. Until a friend of my mother unearthed it from articles crumpled in a chest she picked up at an auction, the wedding dress she loaned to me had not been tenderly cared for in quite some time. Yet its beauty endured, without a single tatter or rip. The dress is speckled only with a spray of nearly imperceptible tiny sepia dots.
Tonight I noticed a dusting of tan freckles on the ivory skin of a little boy who is dear to me, as he regained his senses in a recovery room after surgery. As rose began flushing again in his cheeks, the dusting became less pronounced. He grabbed onto my right hand with his small left hand, his middle finger-tip glowing red from an attached monitor, then turned his head woozily to the recovery room nurse and thanked her for doing her job so well. And I realized that delicate face, with its deceptively vulnerable, sleepy-looking light-lashed pale blue eyes, belongs to one seriously tough little dude.
Outside, branches relieved of their leaves intermingled in sharp outline against a sky caught between dusk and daylight. But the seemingly delicate lattices weren’t really delicate at all: the bark clatters in clashes wrought by high winds, and those interwoven trees will withstand another harsh winter before being covered again in ephemeral green.
I’ve been feeling a bit delicate this week–in the metaphorical sense. I hope perhaps I’m also tougher than I think.