Spring arrived bearing snow this year. While I listened to forecasts that couldn’t pinpoint just how much snow to expect, I found myself crossing my fingers and fervently sending out messages to the universe to please, please spare us any real damage. Methinks I was heard. The crocuses, hellebores, snowdrops and scillas had been blooming for a week or so already but, the daffodils had just begun to unfold their sunny petals and I was concerned that they would be crushed. Thankfully, the flowers were spared. For a brief period the snow made everything white and pretty but in no time at all it had all melted away. Spring was once again underway.
But it got me thinking about how we approach life. So much time is spent in anticipating and planning that we don’t pause long enough to simply be. All winter long we look forward to the return of life in the garden. And then, when it starts to bloom, we get caught up in the chores and to-dos to get ready for summer. There ought to be a time we allow ourselves to be completely present in the garden. To notice the details, appreciate the beauty, get to know intimately the plants we nurture. How else could we learn to value what we have?
The same could be said of how we miss out on time with our children and other loved ones. We are so focused on doing what we think they need, that we fail to spend time with them doing nothing in particular. It is in that last ‘activity’ that we are given the opportunity to truly acquaint ourselves with our own. How often we have surprised ourselves by having a proper conversation when ‘trapped’ in a car! Or when sitting down all together for a meal where no electronic devices are permitted.
Young children are good at doing nothing and still observe and learn about their surroundings. While it might appear that they are unoccupied, they are in truth filling up on information about their world. They are living life. We could do well by giving ourselves such a break in our over-scheduled days.
Because there was so much confusion about how much snow we might get, I was afraid all might be lost with the early bulbs. So I decided to go out and take photos of whatever was in bloom. Once I started photographing, I realized how much I neglect to notice at this time of year. The yellow crocuses bloom before the others. The wood hyacinths start two weeks after the crocuses – I’m usually so occupied with my spring chores that I notice these timid bulbs only when they are in full form. Yet, their slow progress is in itself a gentle reminder to savor every moment. The muscari are close to follow and their tight buds resemble diminutive, deep mauve wands. Soon they will reveal their lighter hued tiny bells. At this time, the roses are putting out new leaves – shiny and bronze. The hellebores have peaked and some are even bold enough to tilt their faces upwards. Their pastel colored flowers contrast strikingly with the rich jewel tones of the crocus. The pale yellow petals of the early daffodils glow softly in the sunlight. And I wonder how I might capture that luminescence in watercolor. So ethereal.
All the while, all manner of birds are making sorties to determine where they might set up their nests. I watch a pair of cardinals foraging in the meadow as though ensuring the food supply they will need once they have babies to feed. Their nest is clearly going to be amidst the brambly limbs of the Paul’s Himalayan rose that covers the very old apple tree in the meadow. This is a favorite amongst other birds as well. It seems the blue jays have elected higher quarters. I see them perched on the sugar maple.
Finally, I come back indoors to attend to other matters. The clock says I was away for a whole hour and that comes as a real surprise. I’d been so immersed in the goings on of the garden, that I’d shed all other thoughts from my mind. No wonder I felt so relaxed and high in spirit. I had taken a wonderful, life affirming break.
As I write this post, news of the terror attack in Belgium is flooding the airwaves. Another reminder that life is ephemeral. Here today, gone tomorrow. So this week, I’m taking an honest spring break. I’m going to enjoy this season of rebirth and renewal. The chores, and there are so many, will wait. I want to remember my todays.
Before I let you get to some lovely spring images below, here are some announcements:
Correction! My garden’s Open Day is now May 7. 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
This week, I have art work on exhibit at the Phyllis Merriman Gallery in NYC. Do take a look if you can!
I have posted my most recent visit with the HIV children of Mukta Jeevan. I know you will be interested in reading on their progress. Click Girls Just Want To Have Fun!
(c) 2016 Shobha Vanchiswar