It has been an o’er-long winter here in Nebraska. I don’t hate winter. At the dropping of the first cold temperatures in the fall, there is a pleasant sort of longing for pots of hot soup bubbling on the stove, cozy wood fires in the living room’s wood stove, and pulling the wool blankets and quilts out of the cedar chest. Winter is the time for coziness, hearty foods, and family. Board games and old movies and frost in the eyelashes.
But winter can drag on too long here. Robert Schuller has been quoted as saying “Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.” I am trying to be patient as I wait. I am, I am.
We all get a bit testy by the end of a long winter at having to pull on three layers ( or six) every morning, just to stay comfortable. Hauling wood for the wood stove and making fires every morning gets old and downright onerous. The longing to just pack away the wool coats and the heavy sweaters gets pretty strong. The thought of making one more pot of soup begins to irritate me beyond reason. I begin to turn to fresh fruit and green salads for most of our meals, and I dream of having a garden again. I’m ready for spring. I’m ready to turn the kiddos out of the house and to sweep away all the cobwebs and the dust that accumulates during the “low time.” I’m ready to see green out of my windows instead of grey and brown. (Sigh.)
So the usual anticipation for spring has been mighty keen here at our house, and that anticipation has been tempered–for me, anyway–by a bit of dread. Last summer’s historic drought and record-high temperatures killed many trees and bushes in our area. We’ll have quite a chore to cut them all down and dispose of them. But what I’ve been wondering is how many other plants and grasses might be dead, but hiding their melancholy deadness from me.
We had a bit of rain a few nights ago, and it was a joyful experience, for me, to walk around our place the next day and discover that my rhubarb is coming up in my garden, as hoped. Though it looked quite, quite dead last fall it is, in fact, alive! The row of lilac bushes that also appeared dead are, in fact, sending shoots up from the roots. Most of the catalpa trees and plum bushes that I watered through the long summer but didn’t appear very thrifty, are plumping up their dear buds. And many other plants that I had assumed were dead, are actually alive, after all! I felt like I was Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden, discovering shoots and buds and flowers hidden underneath the detritus of an abandoned garden. Have you read this book? You should, if you haven’t yet.
It was my very favorite book when I was a young girl, and is part of the reason, perhaps, that I love gardening so much now.
So now, without further ado: here are a few pictures from my spring day rambles.
So there you go, Gentle Reader, harbingers of spring at our place: tender young flowers, bulging buds, happy kids and animals and chickens, all promises that spring this year will not “skip its turn.”
What are the harbingers of spring at your place? Has spring showed up yet? How do you deal with an o’er-long winter season?
- Make your own seed-starting mix: it’s soooo easy!
- That particular problem of perceived “perfection”