Monday, March 28, 2011

Come on, Spring. Get on with it.

I have a very intense reaction to daffodils.

The sight of them fills me with optimism, admiration, and cheer. Their bulbs live under the frozen earth from autumn to March and then, just when they can't stand the cold for one more second, they defy the early spring chill and burst, dammit, and fie on frost. I admire that determination and respect that perseverence.

I read this in Yankee Magazine this month, which says the same thing, only more artfully:

There's a moment, tentative and bewildered. Somewhere beneath the snow, a bulb gets brave, stirs a little, cracks its skin, and begins to push through frozen ground.

Reaching toward pale light, it's a small gesture, but grand. Overhead the sky is brilliant, a jolt of cobalt blue. The calendar says spring, March 20, but this is New England, after all, where dates are merely suggestions...Really we're in the hands of the gods here.

Until the earth begins to move - literally beneath our feet. Tiny spears poking up everywhere, specks of green and knobby buds flexing themselves, and then, like a torrent, unstoppable, it spreads north. Early March, at the first hint of warmth, crocuses bloom - golden, purple and white - nestled in goblets of snow. Following in April by daffodils, tulips, and then, in May, blossoms of every kind: apple, lilac, dogwood. And now there's no turning back, a river bursting its banks, color seeping out of the snow.

I find spring frustrating, honestly. Spring in New England feels so reluctant and teasing. It knows how badly we want it, and it dangles its delights just out of reach, one sixty-degree afternoon at a time, until finally it just gives in, gives up, and gives lilacs. My favorite. I'm feeling all sorts of pagan right now about spring, wishing for rituals and things to light on fire.

This is our first spring in our new house, and I really have no idea what to expect. We moved at the start of May last year, so I found peonies which I thought were perfectly magical, lilac bushes with no flowers on them, and rhododendrons that really never fully delivered on their promises. (That was true of all rhododendrons in New England last year...I forget why.) I haven't found any crocuses yet, or daffodils, but they might be in some little undiscovered spot.

Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the day we were told that we would not get to have this house. It's over, the bank told us. It's being foreclosed, and you sold your little yellow house and wasted all this time for nothing. I cried and fussed and smashed dishes, and then found another house. One week after that, they changed their minds, and we signed a Purchase and Sale agreement on this, our House of Dreams with a Room for Everyone and a Dunkin Donuts on the corner. It's turned out to be even more wonderful than I had even hoped...which is saying something, because my hopes were high.

I have high hopes for this Spring, too, and the new ways this season will inspire me to grow and learn and stomp about in the mud, searching for daffodils and robins and all manner of buds below. Hurry! It's lovely here.

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