Spring is a suitable time for commencement, beginning one thing and ending another. With four seasons and a university here, time marks itself well: colored leaves, snow, flowers, out-of-town drivers making sudden right turns from left lanes and people walking around with tasseled hats, corn ripening in fields. To everything there is a season.
Thus I have tulips in the garden now, where tomatoes were and will be. This was an inspired suggestion made to me, of course, by a bulb-seller’s catalog. Last fall after I pulled the frost-bitten tomato plants out of their raised beds, I put in tulip bulbs. My daffodils are safe in the open yard, but tulips need to be inside the garden fence or the deer will eat them. The bulbs liked it in there, and produced many huge, beautiful bouquets.
It was especially nice to deck the house with them to celebrate, because this spring our very dear great-niece concluded her time as an undergraduate and set out for her future. The two sides of commencement – we all want the children to launch, but it’s a sweet chapter that’s ending. The tulip chapter is ending, too.
The tomato plants are in the upstairs window, preparing themselves for the time when night frosts are over and they can root down into deep soil and stretch leafily up into fresh air. And then they blossom, and then they bear fruit.