Tag Archives: Narcissus

Turning

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A little rain, a little snow…just enough moisture, in combination, to set things in motion this May. This is my favorite time of the year!

In the woods, the trillium are showing off their bright white three-petal blossoms. Wild ramps scent the air with the smell of onion, trout lilies bow their little yellow heads over crowds of their speckled leaves. Tiny yellow pantaloons are showing up among the airy foliage of the Dutchman’s Breeches. Spring Beauties display their little flowers on top of  wispy green stems.  Those who know where to look – and have time to gather – are finding morel mushrooms.

The trees, which will settle in to a fairly regular color of green before the end of the month, are now just unfurling their leaves in a riot of different shades. The serviceberry bush at the front of the house is covered with white blossoms. Lilacs and snowball bush will be next. The forsythia in the side yard offers a bright pop of color in front of the grapevines. By the time it’s done blooming, the spirea will have taken over.

Around and under the bushes, jonquils, daffodils and narcissus are playing a relay to keep their many shades of yellow  as long as possible. When one group is ready to hang their heads, the next one takes over. Among them, clusters of tulips add shades of red and pink. Hundreds of grape hyacinth around the yard and through the flower beds add the perfect contrast with their regal blue.

Looking ahead, iris and peonies are showing their foliage, and will be ready to flower just when the earlier blooms are finished for the season. The stalwart daylilies are getting  ready to take over later, and will last until the first frost in the fall.

Asparagus us coming slowly this year, probably due to the dry weather. I pulled enough rhubarb yesterday to make one pan of rhubarb crisp; if we don’t get rain soon, that may be it for the season. Strawberries are covering their bed with white blossoms that offer the promise of fruit.

This year is like every other: spring comes in, filled with hope, and hints of the good days ahead. Always, I trust in the promises of spring.

 

I Fall To My Knees

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I’m reading a book by Norman Vincent Peale: Positive Thinking Every Day. It has a little prayer or meditation or positive message for each day of the year. I feel, most of the time, that I could use more positive thoughts in my life! Actually, the book is one I bought for my mother. It is inscribed, wishing her “Merry Christmas and much love, 1996.” When Mom died, my sisters set it aside for me.

Though it makes me feel good to think that as I  turn the pages I am following her movements, I’m not really sure she ever read it. Probably, though.

Mom was a positive-thinker, a believer in miracles, a pray-er. She had so many children, I suppose she had to be.

My most sincere prayers have been for the health and well-being of my children. Or dogs.

For the most part, I’m not much on praying, though. When friends are ill or having difficulties, I’m careful to offer “best wishes” or “good thoughts” rather than prayers. Worse than not praying, I figure, is offering to pray and then not doing it. I cut my losses.

Even so, I’ve been spending a lot of time on my knees.

These longer, warmer days provide a chance to work in the garden.

Snowdrops are wildly blooming along the edges of my flower beds. Clusters of Narcissus and Daffodils show all shades of yellow. Tulips have fat buds at the top of their stems. Iris and Day Lilies have presented their fan-shaped leaves. Through it all are layers of wet brown leaves that fell from the maple trees last fall, long bunches of pale Day Lily stalks and leaves and the remains of the fall-flowering plants. Together, they hide the progress of persistent spreading weeds.

Every day I come home from work, stash my papers and bags, let the dogs out to enjoy the sunshine, and I drop to the ground. My tools are simple: one claw tool for loosening and lifting roots, one ratcheting pruner for wayward rose, grape or wisteria branches. The creaking, wobbly and rusty wheelbarrow stands nearby.

My rule is that I’ll work at least one hour, and fill the wheelbarrow at least once with debris.

First, I pull all the dead stuff away, working with my hands around stalks, raking with my fingers though the blooms. Then I tackle the weeds.

Years ago, when I had about four fewer jobs, and much more impressive gardens, friends would ask me to come over in the springtime, to look at their gardens, and help them determine what was a desired plant, and what was a weed. I couldn’t help. I don’t recognize every good plant, and I don’t know all weeds, especially in the springtime. My advise was this: “Pull what you know: pull the grasses; pull the dandelions. If you’re not sure about it, wait until you’re sure.” Weeds show their true nature soon enough.

That’s the way I do it. One at a time, I move the rocks that border the flower beds. Roots of grasses are visible there, as they try to move into the gardens. I dig in with my fingers. I try to use gloves, but can’t get a sense for what I’m doing, so I usually set them aside. I pull roots up one by one, and follow them to the end, or until they snap. When an area is clear, I move on to the next rock, and repeat the process.

When I am working at the hardware store, I’m often thinking of things I need to accomplish for the news magazine, or for the townships. When I’m driving to and from other obligations, I’m planning art projects or remodeling projects, or plotting where I’ll find time to get groceries or do a load or two of laundry. When I’m awake in the middle of the night, I’m running through to-do lists or writing articles and doing interviews in my head.

When I’m working in the garden, I’m hardly thinking at all. One leaf, one root at a time, I am in the moment. It’s the closest thing to a meditative experience in my life.

The entry for May 1st, in my little book of positive thoughts, says this:

The secret of prayer is to find the process that will most effectively open your mind humbly to God. So experiment with fresh prayer formulas. Practice new skills and get new insights.

May 7th, I have heard, is the National Day of Prayer.

If the sun is shining, I’ll be on my knees…with my hands in the dirt.