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pear blossom festival

One Pear Blossom Experience
by Christopher Schaefer


I stood in the rain and let droplets run over my eyebrows and cheek. I blinked to free the water clinging to my eyelashes.  It felt so good. I could feel it wash the grime off my body.

The day had been unusually warm for April.  Hot actually. The work that we still had to do felt staggering and I felt a pang of annoyance when most of the volunteers ran for cover at the first raindrops, even though the rain would provide a much needed rest for everyone.

Of the three stages that needed built, there was one that was complete and one that was in the last stages of completion. The third had yet to be started.  As I stood in the middle of the yard watching the way the rain followed itself in a constant stream down my side and wondered what I should do next., I spotted two shadowy figures under the partially completed stage. Two silhouettes under cloudy skies; one large, one small. Both hard at work, rain ignored.  My wife’s brother and my six year old son were totally absorbed in the work at hand.

Don’t let go…” I barely heard my teen-age brother inlaw tell Tyler.

I won’t, Ryan!” came his response, a hint of annoyance in his voice.

The clouds were dark, throwing shadows across the yard, making everything appear bigger. The rumors and whispers about the upcoming weekend’s forecast were in the back of everyone’s minds.  Then I heard the two of them grunt in unison as they tightened a bolt that would help hold together a stage that would feel the weight of numerous talented musicians. Two people that I love dearly struggled to to get that bolt as tight as possible, and it dawned on my how important all this was.

The Pear Blossom Festival is not just another craft fair or even a musical event, though it is both. It isn’t about good food and good fun although, again, it is both of those too. It’s about a community coming together to enjoy the return of the sun…even if the sun is hidden from view. It is about people, and what they can accomplish together when given the chance. It is about two young people working hard to tighten bolts on a stage…because they know how important it is. Not necessarily to themselves…but for everyone.

And I began to let myself stop worrying. The truth was that there was nothing to be worried about. Six days before the festival was to ‘begin’, it was already an overwhelming success.

I once again put my attention to the way the rain felt on my face and body and was so happy and thankful for all the wondrous miracles that I am witness to every day. I guess it was what I have heard people refer to as a ‘moment of clarity’. For that moment, my questions were unanswered, my misgivings squelched and my worries disolved. Everything would be fine. Much better than fine, actually. Perfect. I don’t think I had ever believed in that work before, and I am not sure I really believe in it now, but for those few seconds…it sure felt perfect. It is strange how the smallest thing can trigger true realization…if you just pay attention.