Spring seemed halting and fidgety this year, the buds swelling for what seemed like forever, and then popping in fits and starts. A big rain took away the pink plum blossoms in the chicken pen right at the peak of their bloom.
But looking back over the past few weeks, the overall result looks fairly normal, and I suppose that is the way spring always comes, in fits and starts, squalls and hesitations. The blooms need as early a showing as possible, to make the most of the sun in fruiting once fertilized, and yet the plants don’t want to risk too much winter wind and beating rain, which will keep the bees away from their big party at just the wrong moment. (They say much of the kiwi crop this year has failed due to a peculiar frost mid-month. It was still a reasonable 3c that morning at dawn, but there was enough frost anyway to bite off the tender buds already formed too soon, so it may be a lean year on kiwis in this part of the world.)
More than any weather, I think that maybe the joy of spring this year has been dampened by our own somber moods, the difficult and divisive elections and violent darkness that seems descended on large parts of the world this season. It did not seem that the colza was as yellow in the fields (I didn’t take a single photo of it this year), or that the billowy white wild plums lasted as long in the gray woods.
But empirically by the calendars I can see that they did indeed do what they always do. It must have been the perceptions that we are bringing to the spring banquet lately that made them seem lackluster. You find what you want to find. You see what you are looking for.
And then the wonderful Susans came to visit and brought with them, not coincidentally, nine wonderful full days of blinding Florida sunshine and warmth with them, and that accelerated things considerably toward summer. It’s surprising what joy company can bring to a garden. While they were here the plane trees along the driveway went from skeletal to full leaf in a week! And they left on Easter morning, which we celebrated with bouquets from the garden instead of baskets this year. We decided we would rather be left with flowers around the house than mounds of chocolate just as we started to diet.
So I intend, with mindfulness now of what might have been the earlier problem, to continue this season with ample appreciation for the progress of the garden and its many flowers – blooming, burned, bluster-beaten and faded alike. They are all there, just like each spring, and I will clear my vision to see them and be fully present there alongside them, past any other worries.
I grew up with the parable of the Lilies of the Field, and how true it is that we waste ourselves often on the macro beyond our control and experience, when the tangible familiar which is right in front of us is more than sufficient for our happiness and health.
I have the new camera to play with, and many more flowerbeds have been colonized than just a year ago, so there is no reason to obsess over the abstract and far away. We have here right in front of us enough glory to shower each day with wonderment and smiles.